Once again, the generous sponsorship of the Fruit Stand/DVD store made this review possible. Be sure to stop by and enjoy a 50% discount if you’re not American!
I’ve said I don’t enjoy writing movie reviews, so I’ll try to skirt around specifically “reviewing” the movie in that exact term, but it’ll be tough considering the movie is intertwined with its message.
Usually when someone goes out of his or her way to create something “deep,” “thought-provoking,” “challenging” or the like, the final product doesn’t end up being any of those things, if only because if it draws too much attention that goal (“deepness”) instead of the movie itself. It’s incestuous, but I’ll link here to my review of Inside Man with my brief commentary on its very out-of-continuity “thought-provoking” scene of the seemingly vicious bank robber being disgusted by a Grand Theft Auto-look-alike. A History of Violence practically begs for over-analysis starting with its vague but simultaneously pointed title. The director, David Cronenberg, is very much on the record talking about the philosophical issues raised by his movie.
Most “deep” movies become grossly over-analyzed, with the arguers forgetting what the movie was about and what happened in it (or what the movie wasn’t about and what didn’t happen it””Donnie Darko fans, I’m looking in your direction). Throw in some psycho-babble (“Munich was about how Israel became self-actualized in the 1970’s and 80’s”), and you’re good to go. Without putting it terms of whether it was a good movie or not, Munich certainly had enough going on it to not need this over-analysis. (Okay, to be fair, some people have complained that not much of anything happened in the movie, other than Eric Bana sweating like a maniac when he was getting his pump on.) Oddly enough, “A History of Violence” needs this discussion; not a whole lot happens in the movie; it could basically be considered an immediate and direct sequel to Goodfellas. (I liked A History of Violence enough that I won’t ruin the “how” and “why” that lingers throughout the story for our readership, but if you’ve seen Goodfellas, you’ll understand what I mean about it being the next step in the Goodfellas story.)
Sure, plenty happens in A History of Violence, but the characters spend so little time onscreen reflecting on it; the extent is really “how long have you lied to me? And did I marry your past or just an identity you arbitrarily created?” The viewers are in the same position as the characters after the open-ended conclusion of the movie. Like the characters, the viewers are asking themselves, “What’s in me? What am I capable of if something needed to be done?” “Would I be able to leave behind my “