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David Cronenberg Named Best Director of 2005

So I guess it's officially cool to ooh and ah over David Cronenberg now that the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) has named him Best Director of 2005 for "A History of Violence." Not only that, but Filmfanzine goes on to explain that Ed Harris got the NSFC's Best Supporting Actor award, and "Violence" script writer Josh Nelson is a Writer's Guild of America nominee (you can find out whether he wins on Feb. 4).

That's all well and good, but Cronenberg's share of the glory feels a little bit like guilt-induced recognition. Not that he hasn't received critical attention in the past. In fact he's enjoyed an enviable balance of critical acclaim and popular appeal for much of his career. All the more striking, then, that he should win this award for a film like "Violence," which is but a pale shadow of his best work.

If it's true that Cronenberg has now put the horror genre behind him, maybe "Violence" simply bears the growing pains that must accompany a transition of that magnitude. But of course he's worked outside the genre before, and with much stronger results. Maybe it's just that he needs to attach himself to the right project. Maybe there's a novel out there that he needs to adapt. Maybe he hasn't discovered it yet, and maybe it hasn't even been written. Does he have another "Dead Zone" in him? Perhaps one of his two announced projects ("I Kill" and "London Fields") will be the ticket.--Pete Mesling

Posted by Pete on January 15, 2006 2:49 PM
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