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Movie Review: A History of Violence

Alternate Title: Deception is Reality

Story: Is violence in all of us? Who is that person sitting next to you on the couch? What would you do if faced with imminent life threatening danger? Director David Cronenberg is back with a vengeance. His treatment of this John Olsen screenplay based on a graphic novel (an important thing to remember as the source material) by John Wagner and Vince Locke is nothing short of genius.

Tom Stall is your everyman living in Smalltown USA with a loving wife and two beautiful children - or is he? When faced with two killer thugs who enter his diner he suddenly turns rabid and heaps bagfuls of anger on them. He becomes Mr. American Hero and his face is blasted across the TV screens. No good deed goes unpunished could have also been an alternate title because poor Tom gets more than he bargained for when his face becomes known.

I can't really tell you much more about the plot or I would be a spoiler and I would NEVER do that. Suffice it to say, I was not sure what was coming next and was thoroughly entertained by this powerful, well acted, brilliantly directed film.

If you like your world turned upside down mixed in with a bit (okay, a lot) of violence, check out this film. Try to keep your analytical mind outside the door and just enjoy the performances, the cinematography and the direction. And keep in mind that the source material was a graphic novel.

Acting: Everyone was terrific. Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt blew me away.

Predilection: None.

Critters: Thankfully, none.

Opening Titles: The opening sequence is a slow moving typeface over middle America as two psychopaths roam free to main.

Theater Audience: A handful of hopefully nonviolent theater goers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 1

Squirm Scale: I should really have been squirmed from all of the violence, but surprisingly, I was not.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this film was headed. Sometimes it reminded me of that 50's film, Suddenly, with Frank Sinatra and at other times it reminded me of High Noon (a very dark, High Noon).

Drift Factor: Nary a moment to drift.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Why not?

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. For some other David Cronenberg films, try renting: Crash, M. Butterfly, Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers, Scanners , The Fly and the Dead Zone.

Length: 90 minutes.