When all the attention was firmly focused on Ang Lee's other western, Brokeback Mountain, for me, David Cronenberg's excellent, contemporary western was the more arguably powerful film.
Taking the premise of a small, idyllic town, and the small-time cafe owner who kills two robbers who he feels are endangering his costumers, Cronenberg skillfully crafts a brilliant story of a man who tries to suppress the violence that is part of his nature, but which eventually consumes him. Cronenberg searches deep in to the human nature, examining the brutal, shocking violence that is at the core of this movie.
Viggo Mortensen fits the bill perfectly, looking so much like a man of the west -- the only thing missing is a cowboy hat. Perfectly portraying the quiet cafe owner, then his violent alter ego Joey, Mortensen is excellent throughout. The violence is brutal and sudden, but it is authentic and shockingly real -- Cronenberg apparently got some of the violence from a DVD on the internet which shows you how to kill a man on the street, which he stumbled across.
For those of you who have not seen this I urge you to get it. Underrated, this film deserves better as it is a brilliant examination of human behaviour and Mortensen's character is a perfect example of a man trying to forget his past, but which inevitable catches up with him.