Movie Review: A History Of Violence

It is not often that one encounters a movie that is better than the book from which it was adapted. This is one of those notable cases. Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg the actor-director duo who would go on to make the classic, Eastern promises join hands to create this great film.

It was a couple of years ago, that I reviewed the graphic novel that bears the same name,and was  written by John Wagner and drawn by Vince Locke. I was not a big fan of it then. The movie however, diverges from the book (luckily) thus making itself more gripping and a little more plausible. Ed Harris and William Hurt in supporting roles, further enhance the quality of the flick.

Tom Stall is a small town restaurant owner, unassuming and publicity shy. He is a family man, not the person one would assume, to be violent. One day, two cons arrive in his restaurant, threatening his life and those of his staff. Reasoning with them, obviously is no answer.

Tom kills the pair, and this act would place him exactly where he did not want to be- in the public spotlight. It draws attention from the wrong quarters. Criminals high up in the mob food -chain first show up at his restaurant and then begin  to harass his family. They claim Tom is not who he says he is, and that he had a violent past. How else could a mere small-towner subdue two hardened thugs?

Tom is faced with no other option, but to take to violence to make things right. I liked the way the plot unfolds in the movie, far better than in the book. If not for the direction of Cronenberg and for its stellar cast, this movie would have been yet another medicore action flick. Instead, it is riveting and worthy of a weekend watch.

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