'A History Of Violence'
(Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, et al / R / 93 mins / New Line)
Overview: Tom (Mortensen) works at a diner in a small town with his wife, Edie (Bello). Their peaceful lives are interrupted when Tom thwarts an attempted robbery and becomes a local hero. After seeing him on TV, a couple of mobsters (Ed Harris, William Hurt) show up on the scene, pegging Tom as a guy who's wronged them in the past.
Verdict: 'A History Of Violence' is a powerhaus of a film, make no mistake about that! It's actually possible to imagine the film playing as an action crowd-pleaser to a mainstream genre audience that may not be a bit perturbed by (or even aware of) Cronenberg's stealthy unraveling of the threads of this American life. Though the story is predictable, Cronenberg's cool touch keeps it from degenerating into tired action-movie clichés; he drains the visceral kicks from Tom/Joey's voyage into darkness and replaces them with a creeping sense of unease. Once you know what evil lurks in the hearts of men, Cronenberg asks, how do you live with that knowledge?