Strelnikov

After work this evening, I stopped off at the Guam Megaplex at GPO to watch A History of Violence. It is directed by David Cronenberg, the vision behind a series of surreal and vaguely erotic films like Dead Ringers, The Naked Lunch, Scanners, eXistenZ, Crash and The Dead Zone. And A History of Violence certainly fits right in with the rest of his ouvre. Flashes of chilling violence, and vague unease that makes a person squirm in his seat.

But if this film really resembles anything, it is Clint Eastwood’s paean to blood lust and revenge, Unforgiven. A man of violence, reformed in his ways and living a small, quiet family life, returns to violence with irrevocable results. I left the theater appreciating A History of Violence, a good film with a difficult path to tread. A man remaking his troubled past into a picture perfect vision of respectability, only to succumb to violence in the end. A good movie, but I doubt I’ll watch it again. It’s just too damn violent.

I returned home and discovered Doctor Zhivago on TCM. Which of course got me thinking about a character from Pasternak’s novel who does the reverse, a moral and high minded man remade into an avatar of violence under the assumed name of Strelnikov. Tom Stall and Pavel Pavlovich Antipov, inverse mirrors of each other. One abandons a life of senseless violence for a simple life, the other abandons a simple life to bath the world in blood. Curious.