Yes, it's that damn movie again, and I can't quite get it out of my mind. But I do promise to be less long-winded this time.
It's impossible to appreciate the richness of this film if one approaches it exclusively from a doctrinaire, art-movie-loving, cinephile vantage point.
Cinephiles often hold their nose when they approach genre movies, implicitly assuming the primacy of art cinema over genre cinema. This can often be very counter-productive, naive and reductive. Not to mention a lot less interesting and fun.
A History Of Violence itself does not place its status as an art film over its status as a genre film. It demands to be taken seriously as both.
There is a solid tradition in American cinema of thrillers that are also great art: Fritz Lang's The Big Heat, Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly, Howard Hawks' Scarface and The Big Sleep, etc. This movie, I'd like to think, will keep company with them one day.
Everyone wants to talk and write about this film. The last time I can remember this happening, it was four years ago with David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.
I've still only seen it once, but I'm heading to my local ugly megaplex to plunk down my nine bucks tomorrow for an encore.