Sat 17 Dec 2005
There’s something about Ed Harris that says, “I will end you, I will fucking end you.”
2005 GOLDEN MUGS
Best Director (David Cronenberg)
Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen)
Best Actress (Maria Bello)
Best Adapted Screenplay (Josh Olson-screenplay, John Wagner & Vince Locke-graphic novel)
Best Film Editing (Ronald Sanders)
There is only one problem with David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence”: It was released before mid-December. Hopefully this will not hurt its chances at striking Oscar gold since, in my humble but worthy opinion, this is the best film to have been released up to the week before Christmas.
Make no mistake … wait, that what’s Cronenberg did. Cronenberg’s directing in this film is unmatched by any other filmmaker this year. The story builds on itself with precision and intelligence, developing layers that pay off at the end of the film.
In order to let you really enjoy the film, I’m not going to say one thing about the plot. I don’t want to give anyone a hint about what happens. If you saw the trailer, then you know enough, or maybe too much. Either way, that’s all you get from me. See this film.
The lead actors, Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, provide explosive and tension-packed performances. They carry the burdens placed on them throughout the film in their faces and eyes, rarely resorting to the all too common monologue to explain what they are feeling.
Also, Ed Harris provides another outstanding performance. If someone were to tell me he didn’t, I’d check the weather forecast in Hell.
Perhaps the only people who didn’t give stellar performances are the children and William Hurt. But they were believable enough and the film more than makes up for that fact.
As the title implies, there is some violence in the film, and Cronenberg does an excellent job of not just showing some people in an altercation. He allows the camera to linger a bit on the effects, providing the audience with a nastier result that normal. This served to somewhat counteract the desensitivity that current American culture has acquired over the last 25 years.
I could probably give a scene by scene rundown of what went right in this film. But again, it’s a disservice to divulge the details of this before some of you get to see it.
This was the easiest 5 out of 5 for me to give out this year and is the best film overall of the year that I have seen (though “Junebug” is still my favorite). All that is left for consideration from what I can ascertain is “Munich”, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”, “Breakfast on Pluto“, “Ellie Parker” and “Transamerica”. Barring one of those or an unknown film with a super late release in New York of L.A., this deserves enough pretty golden dipped statues to make a chess set.
P.S. See this film. It probably isn’t playing in theaters anymore so keep a lookout for the movie channels and the video stores. I don’t know if I would buy this, movies with this much grit and power aren’t the kind I tend to re-watch over and over again … but it needs to be seen at least once.