Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA/Germany, 2005. New Line Cinema, BenderSpink, Media I! Filmproduktion München & Company, New Line Productions. Screenplay by Josh Olson, based on the graphic novel by John Wagner, Vince Locke. Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky. Produced by Chris Bender, J.C. Spink. Music by Howard Shore. Production Design by Carol Spier. Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg. Film Editing by Ronald Sanders. Academy Awards 2005. American Film Institute 2005. Cannes Film Festival 2005. Golden Globe Awards 2005. National Board of Review Awards 2005. New York Film Critics Awards 2005. Online Film Critics Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
In a small American town, a cafe owner (Viggo Mortensen) goes about his business in relative peace and quiet until two dangerous criminals try to rob his store and he kills them both. At once a hero among his community and on national television, Mortensen’s actions bring unwanted attention on him when Philadelphia gangsters (led by Ed Harris) show up and insist that he’s an AWOL member of their organization. Mortensen says they’re crazy, but further incidents of self-protection convince his wife (Maria Bello) that there’s more to his story than than just random coincidence. David Cronenberg’s excellent film is an entertaining and compelling drama that defines violence as an infectious disease, something we enjoy indulging in (in entertainment or in life) without facing the consequences. Mortensen is quietly brilliant, a plain and simple man who is hiding desperation and fear just below the surface, while Bello is superb as a woman who is grasping at straws to make sense of a life that has just gone haywire.