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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than US BD
This UK BD is not grain filtered like the US and therefore provides the authentic film look. If you prefer people looking like wax puppets you are better off with the US disc. If you can appreciate what film looks like this is the disc for you.
Published on 3 Jun 2009 by M. Hafner

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Renter and not a buyer
One of those films that you feel it's a couple of tweaks away from being a favorite but it feels like it's trying to be clever and not really pulling it off (Especially seeing as the title tells you the main plot twist). Worth a rent maybe if it intrigues you that much, but I wouldn't recommend a buy.
Published 1 month ago by Scott Gist


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than US BD, 3 Jun 2009
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M. Hafner (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This UK BD is not grain filtered like the US and therefore provides the authentic film look. If you prefer people looking like wax puppets you are better off with the US disc. If you can appreciate what film looks like this is the disc for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the upgrade, 9 Mar 2009
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PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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No need to introduce this movie to film buffs but suffice it to say its worth the upgrade to blu-ray. The film is an anamorphic print and fills the screen. The opening shot of the motel in full sunlight is so sharp its almost unreal. The true dolby soundtrack is first class. Not too much in the way of extras but a worthy addition to your high def library.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - one of the films of the year., 6 Dec 2006
This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Great Bluray!, 2 Mar 2009
By 
David Lawson (London) - See all my reviews
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If you're not familiar with this David Cronenberg gem, then you are missing out! It has style, substance & class performances from all. This new BD transfer is very good, with a very sharp & detailed picture & vibrant colours & inky blacks The DolbyTrueHD soundtrack is always fully immersive & given extra depth & dimensionality by a great musical score. This comes Highly Recommended!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multilayered and absorbing, 24 Mar 2007
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
This is a gem of a movie. It is one of those rare treats that you can enjoy on multiple levels - as a straight forward thriller, or as it is really intended, as something much more thought provoking.

We start the movie with Tom Stall (Viggo Mortnesen) and his wife played by Mario Bello exhibit all the characteristics of a happy, safe, marriage. Passionate, intimate, good kids etc... Then their world is disrupted, when two bad guys come into the diner where he works. They set out to do nasty things, and Stall is propelled into a brief but highly effective eruption of violence. He is feted as a hero, but we begin to see the changes in his relationship with his son in particular as a result. As the town comes back to normal however, the ever brilliant Ed Harris comes into town. He is convinced Tom Stall is actually someone else altogether, an explanation that fits with the violence we have seen. To say more about the plot would be to deprive you of seeing how things unfold, so I will leave it at that.

It is in the subtexts that the movie excels - not telling us what we should think, but questioning our own reactions. Is his son right for using more violent means with bullies? Was a little violence necessary to balance his pacifist ways? Is the couples `violent' sex more real than the passion we see near the beginning of the movie?

As stated by others, it is after the movie ends and you start talking about the movie.. and you WILL start talking about the movie, that you will realise how effective it actually was. The performances are uniformly excellent - Mario Bello brings real credibility to a wife dealing with the changes in her husband, and Ashton Holmes as Tom Stall's son is brilliant. William Hurt is almost unrecognisable in the role of a mob boss teetering on the edge of sanity. And last but not least, Howard Shore gives a muted and perfectly sorrowful score, completely at odds with the violence in a way that helps the movie immensely.

There is violence, and there is sex, but all tightly controlled and more tense than graphic, and all carefully crafted to service the story. The ending will disappoint you if you tackle this as a mere action movie.. but if you want a real kick off into the whole subject of the influence and effects of violence, then this is a perfect place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned action film, age certification warranted, 25 Sep 2009
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
This is an old fashioned action film, it could even be a western the resemblance is so great and it definitely deals with a lot of themes which I'd associate with the western.

This film shares the title of a graphic novel A History of Violence popular as an attempt to deal with the "real world" or "true crime" storyline rather than super heroes or fantasy, however the film does not have the same conclusion (its seriously difficult to see how it could, given how grotesque and gross some people have found the film they should check out the book for real horror).

Thematically its the story of the "second lifer" who has their cover blown when some shady, sinister elements from his past return to haunt him when an act of violence, protecting others, leads to him hitting the headlines portrayed as a small town hero. The suspiscion, doubt and menace which are visited upon the title character and his family are realistic and the fissures quickly open up between the title character, his wife and kids.

Throughout the horrific, unanticipated, shocking and irreversible nature of true violence is portrayed very well. There is no martial artistry, no stylistic shooting or anything of that kind. It is brutal and the age certification is very much warranted.

However what is really interesting, or was to me, is how brilliantly the actors portrayed the characters and how violence effected them, the swift, unflinching nature of their actions, choices once made are not made by half measure. The predatory nature of the criminal element throughout the film is perfect, whether its the original two who think they will hold up the cafe that the lead character is working in or the gangsters who summon him, using threats to his family, to give an account of themselves. Equally the shock with which they responded to their "prey" failing to conform to the "rules of the game", ie behaving as a victim and cringing from unflinching violent counteraction, is done well too.

However, I really would not say that this film glamourises violence, not at all. It is much more ambivalent than the original comic, more ambivalent than a lot of old fashioned action films. Although the narrative of legitimate force, the rehabilitated "one time bad guy" who cant escape the legacy of their reputation or "old scores", is pretty old school, that's where it ends.

The ambivalence is played out in a lot of relationships, the sheriff who doesnt want to unearth anything about a peaceable, law abidding new resident but who is himself no match for real villains, the dynamic between the title character and his son, particularly when his son gets into fights at school and some concerning scenes between the title character and his wife. This final point is one which I found more than a little disconcerting as, like Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD], the guy's wife appears to become aroused by violence, there's perhaps undertones of violence being manly. These scenes didnt cast enough of a shadow as to spoil the enjoyment of the film, I'm unsure I could say the same of the Straw Dogs, but the reality is that its an attempt to portray true to life individuals who arent perfect, who dont conform to "ought" but rather "are". Whether its the characterisation which is flawed or a characterisation of flawed individuals the viewer will have to make up their own mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is he or isn't he?, 13 Oct 2007
This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
Viggo Mortensen does an outstanding job in this movie in playing two what amounts to two characters so believably that on first viewing I honestly thought that Stall being taken for Cusack was simply a case of mistaken identity. You can actually see the gradual change as he turns from small town family man into former sociopathic mobster hitman as the movie progresses and this I'm sure can be largely attributed to Mortensen. On second viewing I was able to truly appreciate this, how his demeanor, his accent, even his facial expression changed from one of cruelty to one of normalcy, so it is clear to see who is really in charge at that moment.

Cronenberg also brings his unique touch to the picture with the scenes of violence being so visceral and realistic that although they are few and far between by todays standards they most definitely stand out as the most memorable (apart from Maria Bello dressing up as a cheerleader).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and well acted, 5 Nov 2006
This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
In contrast to the comments of another reviewer, I liked the open unresolved nature of the ending of the film. This was definitely not in keeping with the classic narrative style of hollywood and it provoked the question as to which of Viggio Mortenson's characters have returned to the family home - the unassuming Tom Stall or the rather dark and edgy Joey. Mortenson's skill in portraying the two contrasting characters of the assumed and real was well done as there could have been the temptation to over emphasise the underscored morality of both characters. In the end, the film is a portrayal of the unraveling of deceit and the difficult choice of complicity and moral certitude that this presents for all those affected in its wake.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Amazing - WOW (but not for everybody), 20 April 2006
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This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
I have just finished watching this film (bought at a great price from Amazon) and was very, very impressed.

I do wonder whether some of the reviewers here watched something else - do give this one a try if you have a couple of hours to spare. You may like it, you may not but you will never know if you don't try it.

One reviewer mentioned that it is the viewer who plays the most important role, as it is our interpretation of the violence which makes the film really work. How can you be pleased when you see someone blown away? - somehow I was, which is disturbing.

One of my favourite films this year (but my husband just went 'yeah it was OK' so it won't be for everybody).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straw Dogs comparisons be damned, this is a riveting experience that finds Cronenberg bringing his "A" game., 11 Aug 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A History Of Violence [DVD] (DVD)
We are in a a small community driven town, restaurant owner Tom Stall becomes the hero of the town when he shoots and kills two murdering robbers at the restaurant. Not long after, facially scarred Carl Fogarty arrives in town proclaiming that Tom is actually a former gangster from Philadelphia who needs to go back to pay his dues. As Fogarty and his Hench Men put the pressure on, Stall and his family are in danger of being overwhelmed with violence and mistrust.

One thing that can never be said about David Cronenberg is that he is a very predictable director, his output of course, if we are all honest, is very up and down, bewildering critics and fans in equal measure. Thankfully A History Of Violence finds Cronenberg on particularly devilish form, taking the graphic novel origins of the piece, written by John Wagner & Vince Locke, and crafting a modern day Western that is using violence as some sort of escalating disease. This is the point surely? The graphic violence (handled with morose tension by Cronenberg) is the main character in the film, regardless of any past history that Stall may have had, the violence arrives into this family, totally unwanted and unexpected, and then latches on to them to maybe destroy them?

With that point of interest to note, A History Of Violence can be seen as a blood brother to Cronenberg's wonderful remake of The Fly, the unwanted entering the fray and spreading its disease to the point of no return. There is the use of the husband and wife's ongoing sex life as a seriously smart strand in the escalating story, where once at the beginning there is fluffy erotic intercourse, then the on going danger in their lives brings darkness and borderline sadism, it's very relevant, as is the son axis as he goes through a dramatic change when the violence and threats engulf the family. Cronenberg gleefully ties all the murky threads together to ask us for a reaction to the violence up there on the screen.

The cast, with the exception of a fish out of water performance from Ashton Holmes as the son, Jack, is fine. Viggo Motensen plays the duality of the role as Tom Stall with much verve, while Maria Bello shows exactly why she shouldn't be working for food in hopeless miscast assignments like The Mummy 3. Ed Harris gives us a nice line in villain duties, and William Hurt crops up late in the piece to almost steal the film with his darkly disturbing menacing point of worth. Peter Suschitzky's photography enhances the primary colours for added impact when the mood swings down dark roads, and Howard Shore's musical score is constantly ominous, where he blends his own score for Silence of the Lambs with a sort of Berlioz like edginess.

All in all it's a very interesting and sneakily crafty picture that above all else shows that when on form, Cronenberg still has very much to offer modern age cinema. Now, about Straw Dogs? 8.5/10
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A History Of Violence [UMD Mini for PSP]
A History Of Violence [UMD Mini for PSP] by David Cronenberg (UMD Mini for PSP - 2006)
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