Sunday, October 16, 2005

A History of Violence (Late I Know)

A History of Violence (Dir. David Cronenburg, Crash)

A string of thoughts about this movie:

1. Made me think of the old Winesburg, OH (i think thats it?) set of Americana stories from the early part of this century- depictions of "American Life" with an underbelly found in alcoholism and other social ills- there is also an old Bruegel painting called "The Peasant Dancers" that depicts a Belgian town in the midst of a massive celebration in the foreground people dance happily, but in the background a fight is developing, folks are totally wasted, adultery is being committed- the "obscene underside" as Henry would quote is exposed. Anyway I though this movie was so complete in its depiction of ordinary life before the "incident" (the vibrant but edgy sex life, the long working days, the travails of teenagerdom) and intentionally stereotypical in the interpersonal interactions it depicted in the town (everyone knows everyone else). Is violence the currency required to make this system function? Maybe I am just reading too much cultural studies stuff.

2. Maria Bello's character has the hardest acting job I think because she has to go through the biggest seachange over the course of the story -also the guy who plays the teenaged son was really good I thought.

3. I like the Godfather analogies- this movie could easily be called A Heredity of Violence- I almost viewed it as a nature vs. nurture debate on the nature of violent personalities with a very clear answer to the question on the interpersonal level, if not the social. I hesitate to read more into it because I have not seen Videodrome which I hear probably helps to inform a lot of what Cronenburg is trying to do at the intersection between culture and violence.

4. Stuff I'd like ruminations on:
A) Is there anything sweeter than a movie scene where a bully gets his comeuppance?
B) The final Act seemed a bit forced- almost like if this was not a movie that needed an ending, we might not have gotten the one we got (basically the ending we did get minus the Prodigal return)
C) The initial playful sexuality demonstrated versus the encounter after the History of Violence is uncovered- society finds violence to be very attractive I suppose?

This movie blog idea is pretty good.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 10/16/2005 01:49:00 AM that...

Welcome aboard, Paul.  

Blogger Paul Johnson noted on 10/16/2005 01:52:00 AM that...

Yea i'm pumped- if only i remember to check it regularly  

Blogger ronvon2 noted on 10/16/2005 01:56:00 AM that...

Two top 100 literature references in one night, how classy.

On Ruminatino B) I think this is the perfect ending to this film. Remember when they talk about the look in each others' eye as a transformative moment where all the problems disappear cause of their love or something like that. Well, that final scene is the gaze, I believe, that punctuates the critique. Violence sustains our civil society, illusiary as it may be, so we are more than prepared to ignore it (but I do believe the movie makes a very complicated argument about violence).  

Blogger Paul Johnson noted on 10/16/2005 02:02:00 AM that...

oh i mean the moment at the table makes sense to me- but the entire sojourn to philly seems almost out of place- its just like some extra cool stuff (tho Hurt was really good)- it just seemed disjointed