Wednesday, January 04, 2006

History repeating.

Despite my status as one of exactly three dissenters (Hello, Timmy! Holla at ya, 'Trix!) in the glowing critical consensus regarding David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, I would never wish this box-art on it (or any other film for that matter):


I suppose now is a good time to mention that I watched AHOV a second time during my Christmas vacation and... still no dice. Over at the Village Voice Year End Free-for-all (too lazy to find the link right now), a critic argues that AHOV should be read like Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven-- as a film in quotation marks. But Haynes's film works purely in/as the genre that it deconstructs, whereas I don't think Cronenberg's does and that's why the film ultimately falls apart. Yes, there are some pulpy thrills and perfectly executed "fight sequences"; Yes, I appreciate the subtextual games and gallows humor. However, in making an amalgam of a genre picture and a Cronenbergian art film, a rhythm is never established, the performances go haywire, and the narrative crumbles. (Shane Black's fussy-but-fun Kiss Kiss Bang Bang works better as a pulp-thriller in quotation marks.)

Charles Taylor makes me laugh: "How do you take seriously a movie where William Hurt turns up looking like the world's biggest leprechaun?"


At 11:36 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

That from a guy who thinks Rebecca Romijn-(not)Stamos is the greatest actress working today? Even when he's fairly funny I want to punch his teeth in.

Still, your main point holds. That cover art is nauseating.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger girish said...

Okay I'll say it.
If that kick-some-home-invader-butt cover art (blecch though it is) leads to higher DVD sales of this movie than some "hip-art-movie" artwork would, I say: more power to it.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Ben said...

I'm with you... kind of. I mean, hey, anything to keep Cronenberg financed. (But, c'mon, it looks like a Cinemax movie.)

At 5:22 PM, Blogger girish said...

Alas it does, Ben...

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Tim said...

If C. Thomas Howell and a frightened Lauren Holly were on that cover, I'd pick it up and consider showing it to whomever I was with before putting it down and not renting it. Anf if AHOV is a film in quotation marks, and the genre in question is a Cinemax World Premiere Event, it's really lacking in the Casper Van Diem/Costas Mandylor department for my taste.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger MiSTER_WiGGLES said...

The DVD cover is spot on perfect since many of the scenes and characters from A History of Violence seem plucked from an after school special. In fact, the teenager scenes are so laughably bogus that it's insulting of me to lump them into the same category as the yeoman B-movie badness on display in, say, "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble."

I can't help feeling Cronenberg, who is nothing if not a slave to his delight in all manner of voyeuristic perversity, was actually trying to make them suck just to see how blindly dedicated his small army of Pavlovian filmdork fans truly are.

Pretty fuckin' blind apparently.


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