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Posts Tagged ‘The Indian Runner’

A History of Violence – Directed by David Cronenberg, starring Viggo Mortensen

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 15 January 2012

A History of Violence (2005)  Directed by David Cronenberg (M. Butterfly (1993), Spider (2002), A Dangerous Method (2011)), starring Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises (2007), The Road (2009), A Dangerous Method (2011)), Ed Harris (Pollock (2000), The Hours (2002), Gone Baby Gone (2007)), Maria Bello (Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)), with William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Syriana (2005), Into the Wild (2007)).  Though the highly effective plot is that of a successful, taut thriller, A History of Violence is, even more, a study of character and especially the often hidden, or undiscovered, capacity for violence, present, to one degree or another, in one form or another, in all the significant characters in the film, and, perhaps, in ourselves as well.  From Tom/Joey with his secret mob past, to his son Jack, and his discovery of his own violent capacities, to the capacity for violent carnal passion discovered by Tom/Joey and his wife Edie, A History of Violence takes a consummate look at not only the potential for violence, but also, perhaps, its necessity in the fight for survival on any number of levels.  Viggo Mortensen is very, very good in his portrayal of both the small town, humble family man Tom and the secret, ominously effective killer Tony; Maria Bello is perfect as the small town wife and mother, and as the sharp-eyed lawyer; Ed Harris is perfect, as well, as a cold, hard, disfigured mobster out for vengence, and William Hurt is superlative as a viciously twisted, violent mob underboss.  With a screenplay written by Josh Olson, based loosely on the graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke, A History of Violence, is anything but simple; a subtly complex, thoroughly Cronenbergian, and very effective thriller, it is certainly a must-see film. (PR)

See our posts on the film Spider directed by David Cronenberg, the films The Indian Runner and Good starring Viggo Mortensen, and the films Sunshine, The Good Shepherd, Vantage Point and Syriana with William Hurt.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

A History of Violence (New Line Platinum Series)

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The Indian Runner – Directed by Sean Penn, starring Viggo Mortensen & David Morse

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Indian Runner (1991)  Written and directed by Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking (1995), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), I Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), Milk (2008), and, as director The Pledge (2001), Into the Wild (2007)), starring Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence (2005), Good, (2008), The Road (2009)), and David Morse (The Crossing Guard (1995), The Hurt Locker (2009)), with Valeria Golino, Patricia Arquette, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper, Benicio del Toro and Sandy Dennis.   Based on the Bruce Springsteen song, Highway Patrolman, The Indian Runner, a drama of family, brothers and their two different ways of being in the world, is Sean Penn’s first film as a director, and though not perfect, it is a moving, successful first effort.  David Morse  is very good as Joe, the older brother, solid, kind, sadly yearning for days gone by, his childhood and the family farm lost in foreclosure, and Viggo Mortensen, as Frankie, a Vietnam veteran, and in trouble all his life, a psychologically troubled bad-boy, capable of explosions of violence, and equally menacing calm, a sort of  lost outlaw, is honestly excellent.  The rest of the impressive cast, quite a feat for a relatively low-budget first film and a testimony to the seriously talented Penn, is, if somewhat unexpected, also very good: an exceptional and subtle Charles Bronson and Sandy Dennis in her last cinema appearance, are Joe and Frankie’s parents, dazed and adrift, sad and beaten by life; Dennis Hopper, as a trashy, edgy bar-tender is spot on; Benicio del Toro is great in a very brief cameo as a charming, funny, even silly Mexican who supplies Joe’s wife, played by an amusing and energetic Valeria Golino, with marijuana; and Patricia Arquette, as Frankie’s love interest, is annoyingly, sadly, childlike with her pale skin and short blond hair, and an ideal foil to Mortensen’s dark and menacing Frankie.  The Indian Runner is a thoughtful, atypical film, with complex characters, a fascinating examination of two very different, but loving, brothers, and despite a few weaker moments, the very fine acting, inspired writing and directing, and any number of very strong scenes make it a film to be viewed, and viewed again. (PR)

See our posts on the film Good, starring Viggo Mortensen and the films The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn, starring Jack Nicholson, The Game, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Pen and What Just Happened, starring Robert De Niro, with Sean Penn and Bruce Willis, and the film Traffic starring Benicio del Toro.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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The Pledge – Directed by Sean Penn, Starring Jack Nicholson

Posted by the editors on Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Pledge (2001)(DVD)  Directed by Sean Penn, starring Jack Nicholson, with Robin Wright Penn, Benicio del Toro, Mickey RourkeSam ShepardPatricia ClarksonVanessa RedgraveHelen Mirren, Harry Dean StantonAaron Eckhart and others.  The Pledge, on the surface a good crime drama, is, in fact, an excellent portrayal of one man’s descent into obsession and marginalization.  That man, Jerry Black, is played by a superb Jack Nicholson, full of finesse, and few of his iconic grimaces and is captivating.  The cast, clearly, is a who’s who of wonderful, accomplished actors, and Sean Penn’s directing is strong, evocative, and inspired.  Benicio del Toro, though almost unrecognizable, as a retarded Native American, is magnificent, as are, in small, but pivotal roles, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard, Patricia Clarkson, Vanessa Redgrave, and Helen Mirren.  Robin Wright Penn as a down-and-out, single-mother, rural barmaid is exceptionally good.  The Pledge is not an easy film, it must be admitted, with its focus on serial child murder, and a number of gruesome scenes.  Nevertheless, it is an excellent, atypical, powerful and engrossing film and, honestly, a must-see. (PR) (See below for filmographies)

See our posts on As Good As It Gets, with Jack Nicholson, What Just Happened, with Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn,  State of Play, with Robin Wright Penn and Helen Mirren, Whatever Works, with Patricia Clarkson, The Game, with Sean Penn and Straight Time, with Harry Dean Stanton.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

Filmographies (partial):

Sean Penn: As director: The Indian Runner (1991), The Crossing Guard (1995), Into the Wild (2007); as actorI Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), 21 Grams (2003), Milk (2008).

Jack Nicholson: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), A Few Good Men (1992), As Good as It Gets (1997), The Bucket List (2007), and many other excellent films.

Robin Wright Penn: Forrest Gump (1994), A Home at the End of the World (2004), What Just Happened (2008), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011, in post production)

Benicio del ToroThe Usual Suspects (1995), Traffic (2000), Snatch (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Che (2008)

Mickey Rourke9½ Weeks (1986), Buffalo ’66 (1998), Sin City (2005), The Wrestler (2008)

Sam ShepardThe Right Stuff (1983), The Pelican Brief (1993), Don’t Come Knocking (2005), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Patricia ClarksonPieces of April (2003), Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), Whatever Works (2009), Shutter Island (2010)

Vanessa RedgraveIsadora (1968), Julia (1977), Howards End (1992), Atonement (2007)

Helen MirrenThe Mosquito Coast (1986), Gosford Park (2001), State of Play (2009)

Harry Dean StantonStraight Time (1978), Paris, Texas (1984), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Inland Empire (2006)

Aaron EckhartErin Brockovich (2000), The Black Dahlia (2006), The Dark Knight (2008)

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