With Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, William Hurt
Directed by David Cronenberg

At first glance one feels as though this Cronenberg film is a serious departure from his underlying themes of biological reconstruction and his own "body horror" genre. But on closer inspection it is in fact there. Based on a graphic novel as opposed to spawned from Cronenberg's brilliant brain, Mortensen plays a small town coffee shop owner who thwarts two killers trying to rob them by shooting both with their own guns. He becomes a hero and is splashed all over the news. Soon after, a big city gangster arrives alleging he's someone he's not. The harassment becomes life threatening and results in death. The question whether he really is the regular guy or the ruthless killer trying to live a new life also becomes a serious issue with his wife and kids. Other questions of instinct, biological predisposition, genetic hereditary traits, truth, denial, mistaken identity and self-preservation all get funneled into this tensely wound powder keg. In the light of living organisms in an ecosystem affecting others, changing events and courses with actions that are irreversible, it is a fascinating study of the possibility / impossibility of a human being to alter his identity, erasing another and totally morphing into a new mode that becomes his reality. Or is it all just one big mistake with grave consequences? A far cry from early gory Cronenberg classics like Shivers and Scanners, but still proof that he is the best director Canada has spawned.

5 / B
- PB

1 2 3 4 5 6
A -
B - C

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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