Monday, February 28, 2011

A History Of Violence

 Another late night! And this time I started with A History of Violence and finished with Million Dollar Baby. Have you ever found how unintentional coincidences occur when playing two films back to back? Here in both films there are two characters that were blind in one eye! I couldn't believe it!
 I had heard so much about History that I finally got around to watching it last night. You know how it is, so many films , so little time ( and at times money!). I knew the plot through reading many reviews so I knew what I was in for here. But what always struck me was that Viggo Mortensen was constantly praised for his performance. He is very fortunate in having had the talent to move on from Aragorn quite quickly.
 He is very good in this film, as he is in the two previous films of his I have reviewed recently, The Road, and Eastern Promises. I like him in this role as he plays dual personalities within one film, a real test of acting ability. He plays an ordinary married family man, with an ordinary job, in any small American town. But he has a dark secret that is revealed when two hitmen accoust him and his staff in his diner. And it comes out in a very violent way, as we get to see the other guy within Mortensen's character, an ex-mob hitman.
 Maria Bello plays Mortensen's wife and is very good too. The whole cast isn't bad, and Ed Harris is particulaly chilling and believable as a mobster who has a score to settle from Mortensen's past. ( He is one of the characters with one eye I refered to earlier, Morgan Freeman is the other in Million Dollar Baby ).           
 Overall the film is quite good but I have one problem with it, and that is when Mortensen's family find out his past they instantly turn on him. I found this problematical beacuse it was too quick. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would react. Would you instantly change your mind about that person? No, of course not, it takes time for something like that to sink in, and time to find how you would then feel. The movie done this too quickly. It would be a gradual process and not instantaneous. 
 The film was only one and a half hours long so it is realitively short. So it could have expanded on the family's disbelief and scripted in their changing emotions. I don't think the film would have suffered for being 10-15 minutes longer to do have done so. To me this is an important part of the story and was rushed. It felt noticable to me and really grated. Ulimately it has affected the way I view the whole film as I feel it is central to its message. 
 Besides this gripe the film is well acted. The fight scenes are quick, snappy, and brutal. They add to the dis-belief that this mild mannered man was once a hardened killer. There are several sex scenes and they, like the violence, leave nothing to the imagination. The first one is a stunner!! As stated the acting is good and lifts this film above the average violent film. While there is nothing really original in a plot of a person attempting to leave their past behind, this film doesn't lower itself into just another ultra violent revenge type film. This gives it real credibility and why it got such positive reviews when released.
 This is a good film with a quiet message on violence. It isn't original in that sense but the acting is very good and worth watching for that alone. But the script flounderd in the middle with an important message rushed through too quickly. This for me is a real bug bear as the family's reaction to it isn't portayed in the right way, and ultimately becomes a negative on the film. But I suppose the very end scene makes up for it somewhat.
 Still a very good watch, with some memorable scenes. But unfortunarley it couldn't lift itself higher by adding to its theme by adding a bit more length and expanding on some important issues that were too quickly brushed over.
 Recommended, but a film with a serious flaw.
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  1. One of my favorites. I found his family turning on him believable myself, they were hurt and felt not only betrayed but used. Still, they did come around. Great review.

  2. Yeah I gathered from your blog you were keen on this one! Pleased to see someone is reading what I write, so thanks for taking the time and effort. Lets me know the time (and money!) I put in are worth it.

  3. Great site you have here!

    This wasn't too bad, but this is basically a Steven Seagal movie dressed up in nicer clothing.

    Also just started following you.

  4. Thanks alot!! My goodness I am getting popular as I now have 17 folowers!! At least I know someone is reading what I have writen!!