340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


After a three-month lull, C and I have started renting movies again; it's amazing how easy is it to drop out of pop culture when a sudden, urgent priority inserts itself into your lives.

Anyway, after watching The Aristocrats, we opted for something a little more cerebral and settled in with critical darling and Oscar contender A History of Violence. Ostensibly a meditation on violence and identity, it shares similarities with Cronenberg's last film, 2002's underrated Spider: both follow an unremarkable man's path through a life fraught with explosions of violence both literal and allegorical.

Spider was compelling despite its clouded themes and messy denouement, while A History of Violence maintains a crystal-clear focus throughout its length, a testament to Cronenberg's growth as an artist. I've always found his films to be muddled and unfocused, weighed down by blubbery subplots and meandering narrative cul-de-sacs. In History, he manages to stay on track and the result is a taut, engaging movie that rarely drags or deviates from its central premises. Surprisingly, he also manages to avoid getting bogged down in the barely-concealed misogyny which so often plagues his work.

Viggo Mortensen is excellent, underplaying his part (no small feat for the male lead in a Cronenberg picture) and saving his "King" look for just the right moment. C and I both like Maria Bello and it was cool to watch her in a nuanced role, a lead performance which would really let her show her chops. she acquits herself admirably and the relationship she paints with Mortensen is nothing short of amazing. While both Ed Harris and William Hurt are solid, I don't understand how Hurt got himself an Oscar nomination for this... he's barely i the movie at all!

All in all, a strong movie that actually lives up to most of the critical hype.


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