A formidable film by David Cronenberg, carried by an impeccable Viggo Mortensen and an equally formidable and disturbing Ed Harris, “A History of Violence” is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Did you know the film was an adaptation of a graphic novel?
On November 2, 2005, David Cronenberg’s formidable film, A History of Violence, came out on our screens. Carried by an impeccable Viggo Mortensen in the title role opposed to a one-eyed Ed Harris more disturbing than ever, the film was, with nearly 805,000 spectators in France, the director’s second biggest success in France. But still far behind its first success with the triumph of La Mouche and its 2.11 million admissions.
Did you know that the film is actually an adaptation of a graphic novel that appeared in 1997? If today there are many fans and connoisseurs of the graphic novel, they were much less so before the release of its film adaptation. It was definitely the film that made the book famous and gained it new impressions. And yet there are big differences between the two, especially in the past of Tom Stall (played by Mortensen), which is not shown in flashback in the film.
Cronenberg has indeed reappropriated the graphic novel of John Wagner and Vince Locke to develop themes and emotions that did not exist in the original medium. We think for example of the son of Tom who, in the film, also begins to apprehend a certain culture of violence. Likewise, if the beginning is very faithful to the graphic novel, it then moves away from it, delivering a very realistic take on the story where the original medium was much more sensational.