A small town man and his family’s life is rocked when the man becomes an overnight hero, after a couple of thugs enter his restaurant and demand all of its cash. A few days later, some greater thugs from the Philadelphia underground show up, believing that our hero-man is actually someone they knew from the past. He denies it…they don’t believe him. A game of cat, mouse and violence ensues.
Wanna see Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello ’69 on the big screen? Then check out this movie! Now that I got that out of the way, allow me to get into further detail about why you may, or may not, want to see the latest David Cronenberg flick. Overall, I really liked this movie, but at the same time, I wasn’t left feeling entirely fulfilled or as emotionally attached as I would have liked when I walked out of my screening. For example, the film’s final scene felt like it was supposed to tug at the heartstrings, but it just didn’t happen for me. It was entertaining enough while I was there, but not necessarily memorable. That said, I really liked the fact that I didn’t know much about this movie going in, so almost every twist along the way was a big surprise. I really enjoyed all of the actors in this film as well, with lead Mortensen coming through, but not in his usual charismatic and “awesome hair” way. In this picture, his character is a lot more subdued, a man with a nice family in a small town, but Viggo came through nonetheless. The two actors who really seemed to have all of the fun in their respective extended small parts though, were Ed Harris and William Hurt, the former of whom comes into the story and shakes things up all around, and the latter of whom shows up for an extended cameo really, but bites right into the part—which is a big change from his usual roles.
The film’s pacing also pulled me in with its first 10-15 minutes really not presenting much in terms of meat, but providing just the right amount of oncoming doom with a great score and an underlying feeling of uncomfort all the way through. When things do get going in the film though, it’s marked with specific scenes of violence (3 big ones overall), each of which is autographed by Cronenberg’s love of gore and blood. A couple of after-effect shots are definite keepers, but not for the faint-hearted. I guess the only real problem that I had with this film was that it just didn’t have enough depth. Ultimately, it’s a small story about a man and his ambiguous background which doesn’t entirely fulfill or connect, but does offer a few surprises, solid acting, good directing, a memorable score and a few very cool violent sequences. The one thing that stuck with me after this film was its deviation from the norm, which is why I am trying to say as little about its plot as possible. Not a major motion picture that will blow everyone away, but a good movie that should entertain most looking for a couple of twists and turns, in an otherwise, small town family circle type of situation.