"Are we all, without realising it, taking part in a vast witness protection program? Did we observe, at some time in the distant past, a deeply disturbing event in which we were closely implicated? Were we then assigned new identities, new personalities, fears and dreams so convincing that we have forgotten who we really are?
These questions crowded my head as I watched A History of Violence, a film as brilliant and provocative as anything David Cronenberg has directed. All Cronenberg's films make us edge back into our seats, gripped by the story unfolding on the screen but aware that something unpleasant is going on in the seats around us.
That unpleasantness, needless to say, is ourselves, a damp bundle of passions, needs and neuroses that conceal our secret nature. The disturbing event we witnessed in the past is the experience of being alive, a state of affairs that Cronenberg most definitely does not take at face value."
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