A History of Violence
2005
***
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk

The owner of a small town diner makes the news when he shoots a pair of bandits, but why did killing come so easy to this mild-mannered family man? Perhaps because he may not be who he claims to be. David Cronenberg’s gory drama is based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke. What attracted Cronenberg to this material? Is this an allegory of America, which tends to solve its conflicts with brute force, or of Hollywood, which simultaneously glamorises and demonises killing people? Or does it deal with the cross-generational effects of violence? Not really. To be honest, I cannot find any depth in this gripping but oversimplified and overrated film, which offers violence as a solution to problems and then dwells on the gory details.