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A History of Violence
Review written on: October 27th, 2005

A History of Violence Review

A not-so elaborate tale of a man who left his former life behind, to become someone else. Unfortunately for him, the people he left to avoid, found him in po-dunk nowhere. And, in the spirit of poor-script writing, they obviously want to kill him. Why? Well, they touch on it a bit, but don’t make it clear as to why they want him dead. But they do.

So who do they send? Ed Harris. Who hasn’t been remotely terrifying since The Rock. If I want to intimidate someone, I definitely don’t send someone in their fifties to do it. But that’s just me, what do I know. Anyway, so the pseudo good guy (Joey/Tom) is living with his wife (Edie) and their kids (Jake and Sarah) in their happy little town, with their happy little diner, living happy little lives. Until some bad guys come into the diner, and try to hurt people or rob the place or something (it’s unclear as to what these guys are even doing in the diner), and Joey/Tom kills them both.

Story continues: Tom ends up on news. Bad guy (Ed Harris’ character Fogarty) sees him on the news apparently (which is local news in po-dunk, not 800 miles away in Philly where Fogarty is), and goes to po-dunk to see Joey. Joey denies he’s Joey, continues being Tom. Finally Joey snaps and admits he’s Joey.

Without giving too much away, there’s a whole lot of people getting shot. And a whole lack of reasoning why, or storyline to support all the shooting. Supposedly the “bad” guys are part of some mafia or mob or something. And if they are, they’re the saddest mobsters I’ve ever seen. In reality, or in movies. Three guys with guns, all aimed at one middle aged Viggo Mortensen (whether or not he is King Aragon is irrelevant), and the unarmed guy wins? Maybe it’s because at 47, he’s the youngest “mobster” in the movie. Who knows. Either way, he had no sword, no Elf with a bow & arrow, no hobbits, and no dwarf with an axe. His chances for survival are slim in any situation. Yet he unrealistically kicks the crap out of everyone, everything, and everywhere. It just didn’t work for me.

All the reviews I’ve read about this rave at how great it is. So, in retaliation, I ask, why? What made everyone think this movie was so great? Did I miss that part? Had I blinked too many times in any given handful of minutes? Where was the greatness that Ebert deems three and a half star worthy? Other critics boast at the beauty of the po-dunk town’s scenery, and rave about how Joey “transformed” himself into a small town man. Whereas I say, any road’s a road in the midwest, I saw nothing special in the scenery. Nor was I all that impressed with King Aragon’s performance (and yes, I’ll refer to him as King Aragon until he outperforms that role, in another movie).

Overall I felt this movie was overhyped, over-anticipated, and overly boring. I think it could have been made a lot better, with a little more time at the drawing board planning the story, instead of just writing ways to get Maria Bello (Edie) to take her clothes off. My official opinion is to wait for the DVD to hit the .99 cent shelf on this one. Unless you like over-rated crapfests.

 

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