October 8, 2007


A History of ViolenceYYY
A quiet family man (Tom Stahl) becomes a hero and is thus found by the organized crime outfit he used to work for.
He never told his family about his previous identity...or deeds. This is one of those movies where you find yourself cheering for each murder--even though you know it's wrong--because this man has truly reformed his life. How? Behind every great man.... Yes, his wife. But back to the fact that we're cheering for murder. It's a little different from growing fond of a truly evil but clever character. He's not evil any more. But now he kills so he won't be killed, but most of all to protect his family. It's the whole "Crime and Punishment," "above the law" thing. It reminds me of the also-excellent, also "small feel" movie "Dinner Rush," which had the same ethical issues.
Problems: I didn't buy that a crazy, crazy, vicious hitman was suddenly a lamb. And then a hitman again. And then a lamb. But it could happen. The character of the son in the family wasn't terribly believable at first, but got better (a writing and acting problem). There was a serious break in tension and action right before the climax when Tom drives to Philadelphia to settle the score.
Incredible performances by the entire cast, especially Ed Harris and William Hurt, especially William Hurt.

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