The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee

History of Violence, A (3/14/2006)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use.

Directed by David Cronenberg (Naked Lunch, The Fly, Dead Ringers…)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, William Hurt…

Jonathan's Rating: Skip it

This film’s tagline is that "everyone has something to hide…" I guess that means everyone BUT the director, David Cronenberg… because he shows it all.

Is the film intriguing? Yes…I was caught by the preview alone. The story is about Tom, a small time diner owner (Mortensen), protecting his family. When two murderous criminals enter his diner, he easily disarms them and violently kills them both. This draws a lot of press, and before long some mafia characters (Ed Harris…) show up claiming that Tom is really “Joey” a mobster from Philly. Good storyline. Tom denies these allegations but has to face the mob to protect his family. Actually, he has to blow out the back of some of their skulls so we can see how cool that looks! As the violence gets more intense… more of Tom’s history is revealed. (Actually, Viggo reveals a little more than just his history!)

If the title doesn’t tell you enough, just read why the MPAA rated it R. I didn’t and only lasted through half the film. I left during the violent sex scene on the stairway…(Of course I had chose a seat against the wall in the theatre and had to scootch past 12 people to get out…can you spell AWKWARD?)

Cronenberg is known for “going there.” He can’t just imply that something happens, he has to show you each gruesome aspect. He can’t just imply that a married couple has sex, he shows you every detail. (Ever blushed in a movie theatre?) Some critics say this is “disturbing realism.” Personally, I think that David is a pervert that needs to have his cranium checked.

My friend assures me that the ending of this film was really good. Even if it is, you have to wade through a pool of crap to get there. Sorry.. skip this one.

I shouldn’t have even seen it!

Side Note:
As said above, we recommend you skip this film. But on the occasion that your teen actually has already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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