A History Of Violence YIFY
Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) leads a very normal life. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and kids and works at a local restaurant. By all appearances, he's nothing special. However, one day two murderous sociopaths enter his restaurant and are intent not only on robbing the place but killing everyone, as this is their m.o.. Almost automatically, Tom becomes Rambo...and despite being unarmed, he manages to kill both the killers! Immediately, he's seen as a hero in the community and he makes the news. This should mean nothing bad, right? Well, perhaps not...as soon a disfigured mobster (Ed Harris) arrives in town with his 'friends', and it seems he has unfinished business with Tom....saying Tom's really someone else...an ex-mobster! Of course Tom denies it....and you aren't sure whether or not they are mistaken or if Tom has created an all new life for himself.While it probably goes without saying, this is a very violent and taut film....and not one to show small kids, your mother or Father O'Malley if he comes over for a visit. Now I am NOT saying it's a bad film or even that it's that gratuitous (though there is a LOT of blood and gore)...but I think it's important I stress to you about the violence so you know what you're getting into when you see the movie.So is it any good? Yes. It's exciting, tense and intelligently written.
A History of Violence YIFY
David Cronenberg fascinates me, and his directing style and films are quite unique. Unique in how they really get under one's skin, explore complex and difficult themes not explored an awful lot by other directors without any sugar-coating or excessiveness and how many of them disturb and makes one feel uncomfortable. Films of his have shown some dark wit and have found myself connecting emotionally to others, primary examples being my favourites of his 'The Fly' and 'Dead Ringers'. His films are much more than horror.As is evident with 2005's 'A History of Violence', which is as long away from horror as one can get. Instead a mix of thriller and drama, which for Cronenberg back then was pretty much completely different. As were the themes, those of violence and identity, explored again two years later in 'Eastern Promises' (which there is a marginal preference for). Although the audience reaction is evidently polarising, understandably too, 'A History of Violence' was critically acclaimed at the time and in my mind while it is not perfect rightly so. It is by some way one of Cronenberg's better and more interesting later films and towards the better half of his overall filmography. Do agree with those who say that it is one of his more accessible and mature films.Not a perfect film, again from personal opinion. The first portion or so is on the slow side and doesn't draw one in straight away. Not everything felt necessary either, in particular could have done without the gratuitous staircase "hate sex" scene and the high school scenes which had very little tension or surprises and would have been more in place in a teenage comedy drama.Heidi Hayes is very wooden and expressionless as Sarah. Some have slammed Ashton Holmes, personally thought he fared much better as there was more intensity and emotion from him and Jack was an infinitely more interesting character, at least the film actually tried to develop him whereas Sarah was more the stereotypical young daughter that contributes little to the story.On the other hand, 'A History of Violence' as usual for Cronenberg looks great. The locations create a sense of foreboding as does the very atmospheric lighting and tight editing. In this regard though, the star is Cronenberg regular Peter Suschitzky's cinematography, which has the right amount of grimy grit and audaciousness. While there is a preference for more characters-of-their-own scores 'The Fly', 'Dead Ringers' and 'Eastern Promises' of his collaborations with Cronenberg, Howard Shore's score is still suitably dramatic and hauntingly ominous with no questionable placements. Cronenberg provides some of the most ambitious and tightest directing of all his later films, doing a great job pulling no punches and keeping the tension going, keeping it remarkably and uncharacteristically straight.Some have criticised the script, personally found it thought-provoking, taut when needed, darkly satiric in places and subversively witty in others, failing only in the high school scenes. The story on the most part did grip me with its teasing tension and suspense in the atmosphere, loved the tension between Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, the unflinching and pretty frightening violence that really doesn't hold back and the unforgettable climax. Mortensen gives one of his best performances in one of his meatier roles and Bello brings a lot of heart to hers. Ed Harris chills the bone and to me he was more deserving of the Best Supporting Actor nomination than the still very good William Hurt who really livens proceedings up in his ruthlessly ripe turn.In summary, a very good film. 8/10
No pun intended - there is something about this story ... yes we have seen it before. It is not something new we really get served here. But the way it is presented is ... well you kind of can see that the director is seasoned as they say. This is not his first rodeo (if they had them in ... actually why shouldn't they have them in Japan?) ... but cultural things aside, this takes lessons from the West (noir, crime movies) as much as just being aware of its own culture.The acting is really top notch - and the script is as tight as it has to be! It reminds me a bit of Johnnie To but also Kitano. Showing the trivial life in between shootouts ... showing the interactions between Yakuza ... but also how they present themselves to outsiders. A lot of research was done surely (I'm not calling anyone Shirley).The movie knows what it wants and while it is two hours long (which may seem like a lot for some), it never gets boring ... not for one second! I understand that some may have issues with the characters presented ... and trying to keep track of them is not an easy task! But that also makes this movie re-watchable ... a lot! To say the least!The fact that we deal with the Yakuza (sorry for the pun) also means that there will be a lot of violence! And the violence is as well shot as the scenes of dialog. This may not be action of fast paced - but you need the time to breathe in between! Especially after the movie gets really mad ... and to understand what the next move or step is going to be.Characters are well drawn, but they also have codes of ethics that we may not entirely understand ... not all of us. The respect - the punishment ... where even the boss is not shown mercy if he screws up ... again, quite complex, but in the best way possible and imaginable! Glad I found it - and another example of Netflix doing things right.
Hell Dogs is a gripping crime drama about a damaged police office who goes undercover with the Yakuza and forms bonds with his crime family. There is a lot of Donnie Brasco in here. The acting is great. The action and the violence is top notch. The film's cast is very strong. The direction and cinematography is as good as anything you will find in Korea or Hollywood. The same with the fight choreography. The film's story has been told in different ways but this one is effective and engaging. I really found myself riveted from start finish. These film's walk in the gray area where there is a fine line between the good guys and the bad guys, but maybe that is more realistic. Japanese with English Subtitles.
Policeman Tae-su (Doo-hong Jung) returns to his hometown for the funeral of murdered childhood friend Wang-jae, where he is reunited with old pals Pil-ho (Beom-su Lee), Dong-hwan (Seok-yong Jeong) and Seok-hwan (Seung-wan Ryoo). Upon investigating Wang-jae's murder, Tae-su discovers that it was one of his own circle of friends who committed the crime.The Koreans have given us some damn fine cinema in recent years, and having heard good things about The City of Violence, my expectations were running extremely high.Which is probably where I went wrong.Rather than being absolutely blown away by all aspects of the film, as I had hoped, I was merely entertained on a superficial level: the chaotic fight scenes are fun but uninspired (a few original, well choreographed 'killer moves' would have seriously improved matters); the drama is OK, but kinda clichéd, with the 'inseparable childhood friends divided as adults' theme having been done many times before; and the stylish visual touches employed by the director, whilst admittedly cool, do little to help one follow the plot and are used a tad too liberally for my liking.The film also has a tendency to flip rather uncomfortably between comic book action and more realistic violence, with the film's heroes emerging relatively unscathed from a battle against 'Warriors'-style gangs of teenagers one minute, but taking on knife wielding gangsters with suitably bloody results the next.I rate The City of Violence a reasonable 6.5 out of 10, generously rounded up to 7 for its particularly loathsome bad-guy, who finally gets his comeuppance after a prolonged battle inside a restaurant.
When I first saw the trailer for Eastern Promises, I was a little confused. Yes, A History of Violence was a complete turnaround style picture for David Cronenberg (whose previous films include the most twistedly eccentric visions of horrendously graphic violence and overtly over sexualized human beings and monsters), but I had not expected that he would continue down the path of the "independent mainstream". I was a little hesitant to see it at first, but gradually the trailer's imagery drew me in. And now I can say there really is a reason for the Oscar buzz.There really is no way to perfectly describe Eastern Promises without giving a few juicy details away. It revolves around a Russian crime circuit in London, headed by Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), and includes his son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and Kirill's driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). Anna (Naomi Watts), a midwife, gets involved within the circuit unknowingly when she attempts to get a diary, recently left by a teenage mother who died during childbirth, translated from Russian into English.The plot is really not that complicated, but giving a full description ruins the little idiosyncrasies and poignant character moments shared within the film. Oscar-nominee Steve Knight has constructed a gritty, atmospheric thriller that starts up quick and then slows down to a nice steady pace, just so the audience can catch its breath and brood over the workings of the cast. It is dialogue driven, but when it is not being sly or darkly comedic, it plays out like an opera. We gradually learn all the intimate details of every sketchy character, and we get a deeper sense of just how bad some of these characters are. It is not just a paint-by-numbers depiction of bad men, it is a highly detailed and clearly articulate character study. And even at its dullest moments, it works excellently.Kudos also goes to Cronenberg's go to cinematographer, Peter Suschitsky. London and its drab and depressing climate are beautifully represented here from the first frame, all the way up to the last. Even when the sun is out, the sets have a certain subdued haze over them. We are watching a film about the criminal underbelly, and its settings help reflected just how low these people are in their moral standings. It works greatly in favour of the film, and it almost works as a character in itself. The drab, almost noir, settings help achieve the dirty politics of the film, and they help explore the character studies even further. Whether it's the scariness of watching Mortensen in the dark, or just looking at the glare of Mueller-Stahl in his dimmed restaurant, all of the details have been amped up on each set to give the audience a greater sense of understanding and purpose, for just about every character.And what Cronenberg film would be without some bizarrely violent visuals? While not exactly a bloodbath, Cronenberg does have a few moments where he paints the screen a bright shade of scarlet red. And when it begins to flow, there is nothing that can really stop it. It works much in the same way as it did in Violence, in that the film builds to a scene loaded with it and just lets loose in a ferocious manner unlike any well-known director currently working in the mainstream on movies that are not specifically horror (with obvious exceptions to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez). It has that Cronenbergian touch, and much like his other films, its style is impeccable and thought-provoking.Another fantastic element is the score by Howard Shore. It slows when it needs to, and it quickens even faster. It plays out wonderfully throughout the scenes, and gives them a sort of classy feel. I realize I used the opera description before, but it fits even better here. Its great workings underpin every scene, and help dictate just how well off the film is.What hurts the film (besides some very bizarre choices by Watts' character) is the denouement. It works, but I just cannot fathom how neither Knight nor Cronenberg thought it was appropriate for the story that was taking place. It just does not have the solid impact that every other scene either has, or builds to. I sat, almost dumbfounded, trying to figure out who thought it was a good idea, and why no one told them to re-write it. But I will say, much like Violence, Promises has an absolutely stunning final moment. But to get to that astounding moment, you have to sit through a rather disappointing finale.If you thought you had seen Mortensen's best work before Promises, then you will be in for a very big surprise. His cold and calculating performance as Nikolai is the stuff that creates legends. He is menacing from the word go, and even as the enigmatic slowly becomes the well-known, you will just stare in fear and awe as he speaks on screen. From the terrifying tattoos, to a small character moment where he puts out a cigarette on his tongue, Mortensen is the quintessential image of evil. His unrestrained anger is felt throughout the film, and hopefully, will be just the right performance to launch him into the stratosphere of Oscar-nominated actors. Even during the let-down of an ending, he keeps up, and never lets anyone down.The rest of the cast, albeit nowhere near as strong as Mortensen, are all very good supporting characters. Watts' character may have issues, but she breathes a certain life into the naïve character that I doubt many others could match. Much the same goes for Cassel and Mueller-Stahl, who bring just the right amount of intensity to their roles.Although it is flawed, Cronenberg has delivered yet another exceptional thriller. It will surely be recognized at Oscar time, and for good reason too. Do not miss it.8.5/10. 041b061a72