About forty minutes into the picture, my wife whispered, “I think I’m leaving.”“You are?” I asked with envy or admiration.“It’s ridiculous and revolting,” she said.“That’s being gentle,” I said.She reminded me that she is gentle and asked if I was coming too.“I can’t,” I hissed. “I’ve got to write about it.”“If only they knew, you’d be so much kinder if you didn’t have to see it.”
Violence is scary. Violence is sexy. Violence is wrong. Violence is righteous. Violence is a problem. Violence is the solution. Befitting its title, David Cronenberg's film A History of Violence comprises all these definitions and more. Just released on video, the film opens with a pulpy paean to small-town murderousness, as two drifters check out of a dusty, rural motel. The air of lazy depravity is palpable; bad acts are hinted at--"I had a little trouble with the maid," one man tells the other--before they are revealed.