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Viggo Mortensen stars in David Cronenberg's thriller as Tom Stall, owner of a diner in a small town in Indiana. One day, two guys enter, produce guns and threaten the customers. Stall takes them out, becoming a local hero, but the publicity catches the attention of someone from his past, a past he's kept secret from his wife Edie (Maria Bello). But the pressure increases when the mysterious Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) turns up with some muscle and suggests Stall returns with them to Philadelphia where Richie Cusack (William Hurt), a name from Stall's past, awaits him.
Cronenberg's film bears favourable comparison to the 1947 noir Out Of The Past, which starred Robert Mitchum as the man with the past. However, here the emphasis is on Mortenson's desire to escape his violent past, with the hint he once was as evil as those who now hunt him. But also key to the film is Edie's reaction to the revelation of her husband's past and how it impacts on their teenage son.
The film is based on graphic novels from the duo responsible for Road To Perdition and Cronenberg brings the same subtle shades of character and morality that illuminated that film.