23.9.05

A History of Violence: Review

Five stars! Highest rating! Must see!

Cronenberg hits this out of the park, crafting a film for adults rather than the lowest common denominator.

The plot itself is surprisingly simplistic, but Cronenberg makes sure that he layers on levels of meaning to every scene so that we never focus just on the straight ahead direction the story is taking.

Wielding a languid camera that gradually reveals information rather than using the flashy slam cuts or MTV style editing that is the current flavour, DC gives the film a pace that is both natural and riveting. It also has the effect of making those scenes of violence that do occur that much more shocking for their realism.

His insistence on lingering afterwards to show the results of violence, and his narrative structure that links all the violence together is the antithesis of current film making where violence is used as a end to itself.

Similarily, I am hard pressed to recall a film where the sex between the lead characters was as naturalistic and real as it is in this movie. It's also shocking to recognize that this is one of the first films I can recall where the sex between a married couple carries the weight of the film as much as it does here.

In truth, Cronenberg has crafted a film about violence, and then hidden inisde of it an even better film about trust and marriage. In that sense, this movie is far more complicated than its surface plot ever lets on, and it isn't until the final scene that we get to where Cronenberg is REALLY heading.

This kind of movie making has been absent from Hollywood since the departure of Stanley Kubrick.

Oscar nominations are likely. Will he win? Probably not. Constant Gardener has already cornered the market on the 'sweep and scope' film that Oscar prefers to reward, but DC will likely earn himself some credit for doing more than just creeping audiences out.

If this is his 'sell-out' film as he suggests, I say he earned every penny it brings in, and I hope he sells out even more.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Have you seen the trailer for Jarhead? It might be trying for Oscar nods.