(out of 5)
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.
Directed by David Cronenberg
Cinematography by Peter Suschitzky
Music by Howard Shore
Production Design by Carol Spier
Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg
Film Editing by Ronald Sanders