Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A History of Violence: Wiseguys in the Heartland

I didn't know whether to grab a picture of a big hunk of Wisconsin cheddar or the Philly cheesesteak to capture my thoughts on this film. I settled on the sandwich because 1) I was hungry and 2) because I thought the mob guys really stood out in this movie.

I remember feeling really jazzed when I saw the trailer for this movie - Viggo Mortensen - yeeha! And the premise seemed so cool: local yokel whacks two cold-blooded killers when they come to rob his diner, delighting the entire town. It turned out that I wasn't disappointed and with the R rating the movie was edgier than if they courted the PG-13 set. I have to hand it to the filmakers on this one - cutting out that whole demographic - because they easily could have filled theaters with 15 year old boys. (Even though it included mom and dad sex - eeeeuuuwww!) Speaking of sex the scenes were fairly eye-popping and included glancing over at my husband like "are you WATCHING this?!" We are so easily shocked. But we managed to get through it.

Ed Harris made for a really creepy, black-suited wiseguy. If they made his suit color gray, and removed the eye injury, he would have looked FBI. But the beefy, not-so-smart henchman made it clear his nature was evil. And their shiny black sedan was so out of place in a town full of pick ups.

I loved the family farmhouse - old yet comfy without being too country. I thought that fit a guy living under the radar. What didn't fit for me was Richie's house in Philly - a monstrous, overblown fortress. The short amount of time we spend with Richie made me wonder why he would have such an enormous house with only his henchmen to fill it. Maybe I should watch Scarface and ask myself again later.

What surprised me the most was the subplot of Tom's son Jack, a high school geek who uses self deprecating humor to defend himself from the jocks. Tom's act of self defense frees Jack to kick a little ass himself, and we cheered for him. I liked Jack.

Maria Bello plays Edie, Tom's wife, and I found her reaction to Tom's deception believable. I'm glad they didn't make her character cutesy. I needed Tom to be married to the antithesis of the ganster moll. And, even though I don't expect a sequel, I was satisfied with the cliffhanger ending. To have Tom and Edie's future spelled out for us would have annoyed hell out of half of the viewers.

No comments: