He's married to a sexy sweetheart with two kids, and he runs the
His uneventful life is shattered when two low-life bandits attempt
to rob his restaurant. Tom rises to the challenge by taking away one
robber's gun and killing both of them in very short order.
His valiant deed draws national media attention and brings
unwanted visitors to town. Ed Harris plays the chilling leader of a
gang of Philadelphia mobsters who believe Tom is a long lost hit man
from their town.
A tense game of cat and mouse ensues as Tom claims he is the
victim of mistaken identity, while the mobsters strive to prove he is
the hidden killer they are looking for.
This film noir premise gives rise to a deeper exploration of the
real nature and effects of violence. Surprising consequences follow
unexpected choices by the main characters. Life and death decisions
play out very quickly.
When violence occurs, it is absolutely sudden, brutal and certain.
There are no long drawn out Hollywood gunfights.
A stunning cameo by William Hurt brings additional light to the
It's not for everyone, but this very grown-up crime thriller
brings first-rate acting and a different perspective to a classic
* JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator
for the Orange County public defender's office.
'History of Violence' is thrilling and well acted but disturbing
Is there a capacity for destruction somewhere deep in all of us?
Does violence only lead to more violence? If you love someone, how
far are you willing to go to hang onto it?
These are questions raised in director David Cronenberg's
near-perfect thriller, "A History of Violence." This is a taut, lean
and mean piece of filmmaking that will surprise, disturb and even
make you laugh at odd moments.
The Stall family lives in a quiet rural town in Indiana and is
"living the American dream." Tom (Viggo Mortensen) and wife Edie
(Maria Bello) are still mad for each other after all these years and
have a close-knit family.
That dream is shattered when two strangers walk into Tom's diner
and threaten to kill everyone. Without hesitation, Tom leaps the
counter and takes them out, making him the local hero and media
favorite -- those cheekbones! A modest Tom just wants things to
return to normal.
But a seriously disfigured man named Fogarty (Ed Harris) shows up,
insisting Tom is really a thug from Philadelphia.
Tom's efforts to get his life back only lead to more surreal
mayhem and emotional chaos.
All the actors are superb. Ashton Holmes makes an impressive debut
as teenage son Jack, who must grow up much too soon. The eclectic
William Hurt makes a bitingly funny appearance as a mob guy who wants
to tie up loose ends.
The last scene of the family at dinner is powerful for its
simplicity and lack of dialogue. And it made me wonder, when people
have been through hell and their family dynamic has changed so
drastically, how do you go forward from there?
* SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant
for a financial services company.