A History of Violence [Blu-ray]
A History of Violence [Blu-ray]

 
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Product Description

Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 02/10/2009 Run time: 96 minutes Rating: R

On the surface, David Cronenberg may seem an unlikely candidate to direct A History of Violence, but dig deeper and you'll see that he's the right man for the job. As an intellectual seeker of meaning and an avowed believer in Darwinian survival of the fittest, Cronenberg knows that the story of mild-mannered small-town diner proprietor Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is in fact a multilayered examination of inbred human behavior, beginning when Tom's skillful killing of two would-be robbers draws unwanted attention to his idyllic family life in rural Indiana. He's got a loving wife (Maria Bello) and young daughter (Heidi Hayes) who are about to learn things about Tom they hadn't suspected, and a teenage son (Ashton Holmes) who has inherited his father's most prominent survival trait, manifesting itself in ways he never expected. By the time Tom has come into contact with a scarred villain (Ed Harris) and connections that lead him to a half-crazy kingpin (William Hurt, in a spectacular cameo), Cronenberg has plumbed the dark depths of human nature so skillfully that A History of Violence stands well above the graphic novel that inspired it (indeed, Cronenberg was unaware of the source material behind Josh Olson's chilling adaptation). With hard-hitting violence that's as sudden as it is graphically authentic, this is A History of Violence that's worthy of serious study and widespread acclaim. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • This movie fails mainly because of dialogue
    The dialogue in this movie is very very dull. Its like the characters in this movie don't know what to say. Tom and Edie Stall are supposed to be a couple that has been married for 20 years? Joey and Richey Cusack are supposed to be brothers? Leland and Billy are supposed to be partners in crime? Jack and Tom Stall are supposed to be father and son? The dialogue isn't real or imaginative; just bad (or the opposite of original)....more info
  • See in Parallel with "Eastern Promises"
    This is an interesting, if brutal, movie.

    In it, Viggo Mortensen plays a Dr. Jekyll who is gradually revealed to be harboring a Mr. Hyde inside.

    The revelation disrupts--although it saves--his family completely. For physical survival, he trades emotional health.

    The movie is a flip of Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises." There, Mortensen plays a Mr. Hyde, a Russian mobster, who is gradually revealed to have a Dr. Jekyll inside.

    "Violence" integrates the emotional (the female) part of the movie with the violent (male) part than "Eastern Promises."

    But both movies do a very good job of contrasting, and interweaving the two incompatible sides.

    Offbeat and disturbing and memorable....more info
  • Brutally Overrated
    I came into this movie expecting something engrossing and overall very rewarding, based on the word of what others have said about it. What I saw could only be called a mess. While I think Cronenberg is at many times a competent filmmaker, this is very much a terrible film. My biggest problem with it stems from the wife. She brings an unneccessary and ridiculous level of drama to every scene she's in, and really distracts from the plot. I wouldn't say that the film drags at any part, but what it does is ignore the aspects that would be the most interesting to the viewer. I was left wanting a lot more fight sequences, and possibly more interaction with the sheriff. It's sad that him and the brother were pushed aside in the story, as they could've in my opinion, saved the film from being a trainwreck. Bottom line, if you want to watch a good Cronenberg movie, give this a pass and check out some of his older stuff like Videodrome....more info
  • Bello shines, but reading the review of this movie is almost as good as the film
    Reading the well-expressed reviews here is almost as good an experience as watching the movie itself. I saw the plethora of one-star reviews and thought "oh, these are people who don't know Cronenberg and are turned off by the violence." To the contrary, most of them are Cronenberg fans who feel like he screwed this one up. There's some very good criticism about the flatness of the dialog (Viggo Mortensen's Tom Stall is indeed fairly monosyllabic), the gratuitous nudity (I agree with that - the point where that occurred was fairly odd) and, in general, a healthy skepticism about whatever type of 'message' the four- and five-star reviewers see in this work.

    That aside, I liked - did not love - the film. Honestly, we watched it as a trial run for the upcoming and very intriguing 'Eastern Promises,' which again features Cronenberg directing Mortensen. We figured if we could stomach 'Violence,' we'll pay the $9.75 to catch 'Promises' on the big screen.

    I was happy to see that Maria Bello got a Golden Globe nomination + scooped up some Critic Circle awards. That's justly deserved. She's beautiful and spectacular here - she's got to sell the audience on the revulsion she feels when her husband turns out to be not who she thought. And, wow, does she make that work. She's the movie's standout. William Hurt got an Oscar nomination, but he's got no more than an extended cameo, tinged with some over-the-top hamminess....more info
  • An excellent work - great story with excellent acting

    One of those gems that didn't seem to get all the hype and publicity of the big films - this one is just one of those great finds - good story, acting, production.

    Lots of suspense, all very believable. Any movie buff will enjoy. A thumbs up, check IMDB for the plot synopsis....more info
  • Don't dis the diner owner!
    It's difficult to discuss the themes explored in this movie without giving too much away. Suffice it to say Tom Stall may, or may not, have a violent past that is entirely at odds with the life he's led for the last twenty years. After defending himself and his employees when his small-town diner is randomly targeted by a couple of itinerant psychopaths Tom is catapulted into the media spotlight, which in turn brings him to the attention of a mobster who claims to know him. Has Tom reinvented himself after a gruesome past as a violent gangster or is it a case of mistaken identity? If he was a ruthless and efficient killer can he expect to be able to escape that past?

    Even if you find the central premise of the film a little hard to swallow A History of Violence is a powerful and at times moving portrayal of a man's fight to keep his life and family intact in the face of increasingly violent intrusions. There's even some very dark humour, especially when William Hurt gives his marvellously cheesy performance....more info
  • Average Cronenberg fare
    This movie tries too hard to be too many things at once. If your goal is to be entertained and have a few puzzling moments--and if you don't mind some horrendous murders happening very quickly every now and then--give it a go. Otherwise, director David Cronenberg (who is brilliant but never quite reached the level of David Lynch, who he imitates too much)
    hit a real low point with this.

    The performance by Viggo Mortensen is fantastic and chilling as hell. You literally cannot get a grasp on the essence of this kind and when you do just want to back off. IS he a reformed, average, timid man who has undergone some inexplicable kind of internal transformation of his own accord, or is he a mafia psychopath in raging denial just waiting to froth over? He is both in a way.

    Unfortunately this can't save the rest of the film, with embarrassingly obvious symbolism and a kind of schizoid confusion that should have been restricted to the characterization of Tom/Joey, not the sequencing of scenes and dialogue.

    The surreality Cronenberg attempts right from the beginning is interrupted by Tom/Joey's relationship with his wife and family. It isn't intriguingly confusing, just annoying. The scenes in which we see "what lies beneath" with Tom/Joey are frightening indeed and well done, yet the whole gangster bit comes across with about as much as reality as a film with James Cagney.

    Cronenberg is trying to make some kind of commentary on Americans and their attraction/repulsion to violence but it doesn't succeed because it is too short and too mediocre. This isn't "Dead Ringers" or even "Mulholland Drive" where you don't understand anything and then, day by day, you begin to understand it and watch it repeatedly. It isn't that rich. It sucks when a film has great potential and a great plot, then goes down the tubes slowly....more info
  • A morality tale worth seeing
    David Cronenberg is not the first person I think of for an action film. But then, despite the movie's name, this isn't an action film. It's parable about all kinds of violence: violence between parent and child, between children, between husband and wife, between brothers, and of course, good old-fashioned violence against people who disagree with you.

    The Stalls are a perfect family. There's hot lawyer wife Edie (Maria Bello), soft-spoken Tom (Viggo Mortensen), and their children: wisecracking teenage Jack (Ashton Holmes) and cute-as-a-button Sarah (Heidi Hayes). Into this perfect family portrait enters violence in the form of bullies at school and thugs who attempt to rob Tom's diner.

    It turns out that Tom has an ugly past he's been trying to keep secret. But when Tom violently repels the robbers and becomes a minor celebrity, his past comes back in force.
    Carl Fogarty (a snarling Ed Harris), a mobster who wants Tom to "go for a drive," shows up at Tom's doorstep, threatening his friends and family. Things spiral downward from there.

    Tom's struggle isn't just about his criminal past. Cronenberg unspools on screen a litmus test of violent scenarios, and then asks the audience each time: Is this okay? The questions start out easy to answer and become increasingly complex. By the time Tom grabs his wife in a violent embrace that turns passionate, we suddenly understand that each person defines their own boundary of when violence is and isn't acceptable. And the morality attached to each act of violence is a fluid thing indeed.

    All the actors pull their weight in History of Violence, except perhaps Hayes--she's no Dakota Fanning, but she acts suitably cute (a little too cute). Everyone else is excellent, from Bello's desperate, hurt looks to Holmes terrified/thrilled rage, to the inimitable Harris as a very scary man. And of course there's Mortensen, who infuses every character with a level of depth with a sad glance.

    By the time Richie Cusack (William Hurt) appears, the violence at home has come full circle. I'm not particular fond of Hurt, but he does an excellent, frightening job here, as a mobster completely bereft of any moral compass.

    This movie poses important questions that challenge American assumptions about violence, similar to how American History X challenged our assumptions about racism. It's in answering those questions that the movie becomes more than action film and transforms into a morality tale worth seeing. ...more info
  • Loved it!
    Interesting story, excellent actors!
    I don`t understand how people say the story or the dialogues are dull,
    for me they were realistic....more info
  • GRIPPING STORY OF REDEMPTION THAT WILL CHALLENGE YOUR MORAL GAUGE WITH FIENDISH AUDACITY
    Emily Dickinson once said "Hope is that thing with feathers". Woody Allen called his second book "Without Feathers" in clever disagreement. A History of Violence, I suppose, is a thing with feathers too because Cronenberg is as sharp and original as Allen, but he hasn't lost hope. This fine production is an ambient, thought-provoking, and often a downright chilling meditation on the causes of violence and its unexpected yet inevitable ramifications. At its heart, it's a story of faith and forgiveness, of the enduring ability of man to bury his past and start over.

    The film is studded with radiant performances. The always underrated Viggo Mortenson (because I have never once been bored by a film that had him in it) is ideally cast as Tom, a man with the gift of killing, trying to recreate his life as a simple pastoral family man. Looking almost like Gary Cooper but with a dark edge, Mortenson powerfully plays the role right on the balance between decency and denial. Even more impressive is Maria Bello, who simply electrifies as his wife Edie, especially as the revelations transform her existence. A certain stairway scene with Mortenson and Bello brings to life a visceral energy that scorches the screen. Ashton Holmes is terrific as their teenage son Jack, who must tap into his own reserves to tackle a high school bully. William Hurt is surprisingly ferocious and barely resembles the man who bumbled about as a philistine professor in One True Thing. Ed Harris looks more feral than any other persona he has played on screen but is snug in the skin of his character.

    To tell too much more would be to ruin the plot, but suffice it to say that the movie echoes with flashes of unflinching violence that only Cronenberg can pull off without being gratuitous. Don't read too much into laments that it is all too brutal; it isn't. Whatever action there is, is so perfectly placed and shown with such hot-penny realism that the foreboding title falls short of what it promises. This is a distinctly subdued endeavor from the director behind the head explosions in Scanners or the gooey transformations in the 1986 remake of The Fly.

    The screenplay and the pace are a throwback to Client Eastwood's Dirty Harry movies: tranquil, but with sensational interludes flowing naturally when action is necessary. Cronenberg and screenwriter Josh Olson do not slather contrivances to hit home obvious points in their story, and the ending is effectively, hauntingly open-ended. All said and done, it throws down a moral gauntlet about changing one's path in life. The manner in which each character copes with this possibility is richly presented.

    A word for the "Platinum Series" DVD package. It contains one of the best Making Of documentaries I have seen for a major release, an hour-long feature called "Acts of Violence". It is divided effectively into eight bits with particularly thoughtful comments from Cronenberg, Mortenson and Bello. Cronenberg also provides terrific commentary on an alternate audio track, and there are actually two extras related to a deleted fantasy scene that reflects the more typically gory side of Cronenberg's style. Having seen the end product, I must say the editing was spot-on.

    This one is a classic, with a message as hard-hitting, as compassionate as American History X or the Indian film Gardish. Get one for your library if it isn't already in it. Must-watch, must-buy, must recommend on to friends and all those for whom you care. ...more info
  • One star too many
    Truly one of the worst films I've ever seen. The people who have posted the same really make sense on this one. Shockingly bad acting, dreadful dialogue, so cliche-ridden there isn't any point in watching it past the first 20 or 30 minutes - you know everything that is going to happen. And those first 20 or 30 minutes set the pace: they crawl by, as we are introduced to the family and their fellow smalltown Mayberry inhabitants, every one of them straight from Central Casting and the prop room. The same sheriff we've all seen a zillion times saying the same lines. The same town, same stoic Reluctant Hero that is the head of America's Stupidest Family unwittingly pursued by the bad guys in black cars - standard fare, all the way down the line. Totally implausible dialogue spoken between family members in nearly every scene. A soundtrack generic as they come, and sound editing that defies any sense of natural dynamics. BTW there is no "twist" in the plot. If you call it a plot. The lack thereof, however, does not dissuade this director from filling the "storyline" with as many non sequiturs as possible. There is no profound message here that hasn't been recycled in hundreds of made-for-TV movies, usually better. I'm quite surprised, as I enjoyed Eastern Promises pretty well....more info
  • Beware of people in black Cadillac Escalades
    "Horror-meister" David Cronenberg (AKA "King of Venereal Horror," or "the Baron of Blood") began directing movies in the sixties, mostly made-for-TV fare, and then moved to the big screen in the seventies with some forgettable scifi/horror flicks. But then in the eighties he perfected his art (if you can call it that: I prefer to call it "the cynical seduction of the audience by playing upon their worse fears," but, hey, I never had to make a living in filmland) with e.g., Scanners (1981), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), etc. Here he settles for plain, ordinary two-fisted psycho/mobster/killer-type violence.

    Viggo Mortensen stars as Tom Stall who runs a diner in a small midwestern town, a likeable guy with a wife Edie (Maria Bello) and two kids. He's just your average joe until one day some cold-blooded killers visit his diner and decide to rape and pillage. Tom manages to take their guns from them and send them to meet their maker in a bit of surprising heroics that draws the attention of some mobsters from Philadelphia. They apparently think Tom is a onetime mobster/hit man named Joey Cusack who had done them some grievous harm in the past. They want revenge. The question is, have they got their man or is this a tragic case of mistaken identity? Interesting premise.

    (Possible spoilers to come, so proceed at your own risk.)

    There is one thing especially wrong with this movie and that is the adamant reaction of Tom Stall's family when they learn the truth. I can't say more without revealing too much plot detail, but for those who have seen the movie, you may know what I am saying. His family, regardless of what they learned, could not help but be one hundred percent on his side. The most they should have said is, "You should have told us" and yet even that is too much. They should come to the realization of what kind of man he is as the audience does, slowly and only after the final scenes. This is the kind of cinematic mistake that directors sometimes make. They are completely familiar with the material. They know how it ends and so they sometimes put their characters in the frame of mind that their characters would have if their characters knew everything the director knew. But Edie and the kids did not know who their father really was even after the scene when the black Cadillac Escalade pulls up into their yard. I know if my spouse or father had been such a good man for so many years, I would not turn on him just because he kicked a bit too much tail a bit too successfully, especially when saving other people's lives.

    Otherwise this is a kind of brilliant movie. The ending is perfect. The psychology is straight out of evo psych; a kind of forbidden truth is told on several levels, and when all is said and done, the little girl goes and gets the plate and the silverware, and the son passes the roast to his father. What else is there to be done? One can imagine that this is how it is and has been for tens of thousands of years in the household of the warlord, the house of the man who managed to survive--never mind how. Such is the nature of human beings.

    There are a couple of very true to life sex scenes in this movie that will be too much for people who have cliche ideas about sex or like to kid themselves a lot. Again those of you who have seen the movie will know what I am talking about: well, the one in which Edie says we never experienced high school together is one of them. The scene on the staircase is the other. They are both well done.

    The redeeming factor for the hero is that we never see him do anything except in self-defense. He has an amazing ability to protect himself and to put those who attack him out of their misery. It's almost comic book, cowboy movie quality. Yet I think Cronenberg made it so realistic that you almost believe it could happened. Mortensen's character is part of the hero/superman/ninja/two-fisted/John Wayne type of guy who can win a barroom fight against a half dozen other men, a guy who can beat a trio of armed toughs, stripping them of their weapons and using them against them because he is quicker and more deadly. A nice bit of supporting psychology is all of the business with the son and the school bully. The way the son handles him actually supports the violent-hero mythology: like father, like son. It's in the blood.

    The title of the film suggests a documentary. But if you think instead about something that somebody would say about an individual's past you'll see that the title is apt.

    Nice supporting work by Ed Harris and William Hurt. But let's face it, this is an R-rated movie without much in the way of redeeming social value, and is in fact a very nice seduction of its targeted audience, which is what one would expect from Cronenberg....more info
  • Violence is as violence does
    Small-town diner owner Tom Stall stops a brutal robbery by overcoming two thugs with a sudden bravery and surprising skill that make him a hero to his fellow townspeople. The ensuing media spotlight draws the attention of a Philadelphia mobster with a mutilated face, who insists that Tom is not who he says he is. The question of identity posed by the visiting mobster is the central theme of "A History of Violence."

    Tom appears on the surface to be the decent, ordinary guy his family and fellow townspeople have known for years. Yet disturbing clues about a different personal history surface as Fogarty, the visiting mobster, and his henchmen begin to stalk Stall and his family, finally provoking two violent confrontations, first in Stall's hometown and then in the City of Philadelphia. A second and haunting question posed at the end of the film is whether Stall's wife and children can live with the complex answer to the first question of Tom's identity.

    "A History of Violence" is superbly cast, with Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, Maria Bello as his wife, Ed Harris as the mutilated mobster Fogarty, and William Hurt in an Academy Award-nominated turn as another Philly mobster.

    This movie is highly recommended to those looking for an intriguing plotline and with the stomach for a fairly violent film....more info
  • Identity Crisis...
    Viggo Mortensen (A Perfect Murder, Lord Of The Rings 1-3) plays Tom Stall, a family man in a small town. Tom and his lovely wife (Maria Bello) live a peaceful, ordinary life raising their kids. All is well until a pair of cold-blooded killers decide to rob the diner where Tom works. In the chaos, Tom displays incredible fighting skills, taking out both men w/ quick, lethal force. Tom becomes a media hero, but just wants the whole incident to be forgotten. A few days later, a trio of well-dressed thugs arrive in town, lead by a very sinister Ed Harris. What do these guys want? What secret is Tom hiding? A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is a story of betrayal, lies, and murder. It's also the tale of a man's attempt to escape his past by becoming someone new, someone better. Mortensen is his usual calm / cool self, dispatching bad-guys like human dominoes. The physical, visceral stuff is easy for his character. Living a normal life is what becomes far more difficult. After all, what does murder and mayhem have in common w/ being a loving husband and father? As for the "shocking" scene on the stairs, I found it to be a perfect way to show the conflict between love and revulsion that Tom's wife must face. Unsettling, yet confusingly erotic. Bello shows great frustration and anger mixed w/ longing and release. A unique sequence to say the least! Buy immediately... ...more info
  • So Bad I Paused It To Warn You
    I'm 18 minutes into the movie and it's so bad I put it on pause to come and warn you not to waste your time or money.

    I'm embarrassed for the actors. No chemistry, pathetic dialogue, all around dull acting. No one is convincing or interesting.
    I don't think any story line, whatsoever, could redeem this, but I'll give it 5 more minutes (I want to somehow feel the money wasn't a complete waste) then I will probably end up reading a book.

    This is one for which you simply can not trust the 4 and 5 star ratings....more info
  • Taut and entertaining
    I want to start off by saying that some of the one-star negative reviews are so over-the-top hateful and angry that I wonder if Cronenberg personally attacked these people. Some of the samplings include the oft-mentioned payola conspiracy, the one charming review that requested all participants in the movie commit suicide to pay for their sins, and the others who feel that they have been personally harmed via the ninety minutes of their life spent watching this movie. Beyond the obvious stupidity of such claims, they are also so full of self-righteousness that it enrages me. It's one thing to dislike a movie and give solid evidentiary reasons. It's another to insult those who disagree with you. Then again, welcome to the cultural climate that the Limbaugh generation has spawned. When someone disagrees, shout louder than they do and insult them. Hey, Fox News has built a media monster from such a philosophy.
    A History of Violence was a movie I enjoyed. It was recommended by a friend as we discussed movies we liked, and having enjoyed Eastern Promises and the work of Viggo Mortensen, I thought it would be good. I wasn't disappointed. One of the complaints about AHOV is that it lacks good dialogue or believable characters. I disagree. How can you even attempt to know what real mobsters are like, or what it would be like to be Joey/Tom? Personal experience? Aren't you basing your judgments on movie clich¨¦s themselves? Do you compare the mobsters in this movie to Vito Corleone or Tony Soprano? I can't even begin to figure out how you judge what a person in Tom Stall's shoes would be like or do. Given that I have nothing that comes close to prior knowledge to build inferences upon, I found these characters to be as credible as I might imagine they could be. Furthermore, the starkness and lack of highly quotable or memorable lines is indicative of the reality of our lives which generally lack in quotable moments. How many times a day, month, or lifetime do you say profound things or act with the high integrity, moral strength, or rapier wit of movie heroes? Probably a lot less than you or I waffle with uncertainty, spout tired chestnuts, or rely on stolen lines from our favorite movies. I find the torn and confused Edie to be more realistic than if she were the hackneyed Meryl Streep/Julia Roberts/et al Hollywood heroine who stands tall in the face of her problems. I found the frustrated and angry teen son to be plausible in his explosive payback to the punks who torment him. I found the small-town cop who is only trying to do his job and yet maintain his place in the community to be on target. And lastly, I found Mortensen's understated portrayal to be perfect for such a task. Quietly seething, fighting that part of him he wishes were dead, wanting nothing but a return to the life he had before the two thugs entered his diner, and treading fragilely on the brittle surface of a life now cracked and threatened by a past that has finally caught up to him; Viggo does as good a job as I can imagine any actor doing. He fails to overact, plays it true, and allows us to see the dynamic between the two lives that violently come together for him.
    AHOV is not the greatest movie I have ever seen, but it doesn't have to be. It is a solid piece of movie making that kept me riveted, had me questioning what was going to happen next, and gave me an ending that was satisfactory because it gave no specific answers.
    It is often wisely recommended that you borrow/rent a movie before buying and I agree with that. I liked this one and I think you will as well. If not, give it back and try something else. Taste in movies et al is little more than a reflection of each individual and I trust you have enough of an open mind and sensibility to understand that your opinion is solely your own and not superior to those who disagree with you.
    ...more info
  • Don't waste your time.
    This movie was a complete waste of time. I was drawn to the big names in the movie and figured it would be interesting but I was sorely dissappointed. The dialogue was pathetic and the acting was laughable. I can only shake my head in wonder at how a movie like this gets produced. There wasn't any portion of this movie grounded in reality. The plot was an empty shell that made a hollow march towards an idiotic ending. The only reason I'm writing this review is to save someone else the time and money this farce cost me and hopefully make the world a slightly better place. ...more info
  • Intriguing Story, Billings
    This was a very intriguing movie, for the most part. I liked the fact that the action, although violent at times, was not overdone. Most of the movie is pretty low-key.

    What I didn't care for was our hero's wife, who was way too big-city-hard looking and profane to be some small-town country girl who would marry such a nice guy as "Tom."

    William Hurt gets third billing in the film but only shows up with 14 minutes left! Granted, his role is a memorable one, however. Ed Harris also had few lines for someone who gets good billing. Another guy I thought was pretty cool was the sheriff, played by Peter MacNeill. He had bigger roles than Harris or Hurt but got no billing. Go figure.

    Overall, this was a unique film and one I would would watch again.
    ...more info
  • Great commentary!
    The commentary this film has about human nature is stunning! Those seeking the "average" hollywood shoot 'em up or action flick may be disappointed; however, those seeking a film with actual substance and something to talk about later will be in for a treat! This isnt your normal good guy kills the bad guys and it's over movie...it goes far beyond that. The script and cinematography are both great! Also, if you are shunning this film because of the director, think again. (At least it's not David LYNCH... HAHA!... who could NEVER make a film of this caliber!)

    Dont mind the negative reviews, most of which view it as boring. Seems they were expecting something less...the average shoot 'em up, I guess. ...more info
  • Intensely, perfeclty acted thriller
    This movie is one of those uncomfortable -to -watch -at- times movies but you cant stop watching it. The acting is superb, especially by the always perfect Viggo Mortensen. His expressions are always believable and I cannot belieive he was not nominated for an Oscar for this role. This movie is tense at times and you are always left wondering, especially at the ending, which I thought was done very smartly. I would not categorize this as an action movie, but there are some pretty brutal scenes in here and one pretty explicit sex scene that was pretty unconventional and brutal and sexy all at the same time. One of the best movies of last year....more info
  • "Pal Joey?"
    The movie was recommended to me so I set it up and after about 15 minutes during which the only thing that happened was a naughty sex scene between the lead man,Tom Stahl and his wife, (who has donned a cheerleader outfit to bring back the youthful moment they didn't share together) ; some then-difficult-to-connect conflicts between his wimpy son and some bullies at school - I finally gave it up as a waste of time. Then, the people who recommended it to me found out! They sadly advised me I had not given it enough time, and since I'm always open to rethink an original impression, I looked at it again. This is how I review it after the break point began to allow the concept of the story to come across:

    Viggo Mortensen does a credible job as the lead character of Tom Stahl - who is carrying a deep secret around with him, believing he has escaped the curse of his family ties to an unsavory association with a crime family. He is suited to the life, all right, but has rejected it as something he wants to escape. He has successfully suppressed and kept under control the demon within him, but that becomes no longer possible as his past catches up with him; sadly it catches up only because he has done a good samaritan act and his picture makes the paper. It isn't long before his new life begins to come apart at the seams when some old contacts come to town to take care of some unfinished business with the man we now suspect is a Joey, not a Tom.

    The heat is turned up and is relentless; his every waking moment is dogged with the knowledge that these two goons are capable of extreme danger to his family in their quest for him. In that regard, Ed Harris carries his role well as the maimed gangster out to exact his revenge, and William Hurt comes in at the end to cap it off as Joey's nasty, sociopathic brother, who has been embarrassed by his little brother's defection.

    As his wife begins to tumble to the truth, she is repulsed; another sex scene of an entirely different variety takes place on a stairwell, sans the cheerleading outfit; and the expression of Tom Stahl suddenly reverts to Joey The Bad Boy in one of the best moments of the film; Mortensen pulls it off extremely well there, it's a total transformation flashing openly upon his countenance as he abandons his charade; because all of it is out of control once more and "everybody who matters KNOWS".

    The curious connection between the son who suddenly breaks under the bullying and severely beats his tormenter past the point of normal self-defense suddenly becomes more viable in your take about the whole thing too. Blood will tell. "We turn into our parents", and the boy learns the truth about both his father and about himself simultaneously.

    The ending is ambiguous; nothing is solved, but nothing has been cut entirely off either. There is a chance, however small, to cling to.

    It doesn't say, but I suspect that the cheerleading outfit has been relegated to the mothballs unit....more info
  • Horrible
    Where to start? Let's see...you live in a small town and in the process of saving your friends during a robbery, you become a hero covered by the media. The mob sees you, and comes looking for you. You play dumb when face to face with the mob boss that you injured, stating "that wasn't me!" Then...then, you resume your normal life and expose your family and friends to the wrath of the mob instead of coming clean with your wife that you've in the witness protection program and heading for higher ground.

    This movie made no sense. And to add to the horrible plot, the dialog was horrendous. Everything was predictable and unbelievable. None of us, if presented with the scenario of this movie, would act the way that Johnny, er Joey Cusack did.

    Let's not even get started on Joey telling his boy that their family doesn't handle thigns by hitting, and then he slaps the kid. Then Joey rapes/strangles his wife.

    Pass this stinker bye and purchase something else....more info
  • ifviolence
    if you like violence then this is the movie to watch. action packed with violence. Very good movie....more info
  • Movie: 3.5/5 Picture Quality: 1.5/5 Sound Quality: 3.75/5 Extras: 3.5/5
    Version: U.S.A / Warner-New Line / Region A, B, C
    Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
    VC-1 BD-25 / AACS / Advanced Profile 3
    Running time: 1:35:43
    Movie size: 19,59 GB
    Disc size: 23,07 GB
    Total bit rate: 27.29 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 22.49 Mbps

    Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1321 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1321 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
    Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

    Subtitles: English SDH / Spanish
    Number of chapters: 17

    #Audio commentary with Cronenberg
    #Violence's History comparison of the U.S. theatrical and International versions of the film
    #Acts of Violence vignettes
    #Additional footage
    #Theatrical trailer...more info
  • Multilayered and absorbing
    This is a gem of a movie. It is one of those rare treats that you can enjoy on multiple levels - as a straight forward thriller, or as it is really intended, as something much more thought provoking.
    We start the movie with Tom Stall (Viggo Mortnesen) and his wife played by Mario Bello exhibit all the characteristics of a happy, safe, marriage. Passionate, intimate, good kids etc... Then their world is disrupted, when two bad guys come into the diner where he works. They set out to do nasty things, and Stall is propelled into a brief but highly effective eruption of violence. He is feted as a hero, but we begin to see the changes in his relationship with his son in particular as a result. As the town comes back to normal however, the ever brilliant Ed Harris comes into town. He is convinced Tom Stall is actually someone else altogether, an explanation that fits with the violence we have seen. To say more about the plot would be to deprive you of seeing how things unfold, so I will leave it at that.
    It is in the subtexts that the movie excels - not telling us what we should think, but questioning our own reactions. Is his son right for using more violent means with bullies? Was a little violence necessary to balance his pacifist ways? Is the couples `violent' sex more real than the passion we see near the beginning of the movie?
    As stated by others, it is after the movie ends and you start talking about the movie.. and you WILL start talking about the movie, that you will realise how effective it actually was. The performances are uniformly excellent - Mario Bello brings real credibility to a wife dealing with the changes in her husband, and Ashton Holmes as Tom Stall's son is brilliant. William Hurt is almost unrecognisable in the role of a mob boss teetering on the edge of sanity. And last but not least, Howard Shore gives a muted and perfectly sorrowful score, completely at odds with the violence in a way that helps the movie immensely.
    There is violence, and there is sex, but all tightly controlled and more tense than graphic, and all carefully crafted to service the story. The ending will disappoint you if you tackle this as a mere action movie.. but if you want a real kick off into the whole subject of the influence and effects of violence, then this is a perfect place to start....more info
  • BORING
    This movie was so dull and dry!!! It was boring from start to finish. With the exception of the sex scenes between Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello!!, and the fight scenes with the son and that stupid jock!!! Either than that it was corny as hell!!!...more info
  • Good movie
    I personally liked this movie but some may not. It's one of those movies you may want to rent to see if you like it first....more info
  • ARAGORN NUDE!
    Tremendous! I am glad to watch Viggo's growth in film.
    He is fast becoming a favorite performer of mine.
    The nude sequence?....grow up, it was a tastfully and perfectly proper piece of action that moved the story to its climax.
    Bravo, Viggo!...more info
  • As Good As This Kind of Movie Gets
    Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen (Tom Stall), Maria Bello (Edie Stall), Ed Harris (Carl Forgerty) and a cameo performance by William Hurt (Richie Cusack), "A History of Violence" is as good as this kind of movie gets. Tom Stall, a mild-mannered family man with a wife and two children, runs a small diner in a small Midwestern town. His peaceful life is changed forever when he becomes a local and national hero after taking out two goons who try to rob him at gunpoint. Even if one had not seen the trailers for this movie previously, he would be suspicious of the shooting prowess of Stall. He and his family are soon visited by Carl Forgerty and company who accuse him of being someone else, Joey Cusack of Chicago. Much of the plot is predictable from this point forward as Stall has to deal with his past that he thought was buried forever. There is enough murder and gore to satisfy the most blood-thirsty of viewers. On the other hand, the film rises above the typical blood-and-guts crime movie as there are nice twists in the plot and the Stall family members to a person are real people that we care about, including the angelic daughter (Heidi Holmes) and her teenaged brother (Ashton Holmes) who has his own violent streak to contend with. The ending is really quite moving.

    There is some terrific acting here by Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris and the small but dynamite performance by Willaim Hurt as Tom/Joey's brother Richie. If I had to describe the film in one word it would be "chilling." ...more info
  • anyone from Philly barf at this farce?
    two stars primarily because Viggo is theee only decent aspect of the film and almost "gets" the transformation from mundane, humble Indiana married for 20 years but has no clue how to make the bed when his wife is promising something "different?" to some tough guy from who knows where in Philly with the brothers mansion and Richie (Hurt) cannot believe that the Turf n Track is STILL STANDING and it looks like a 5* elegant restaurant and DANG that accent is well, all I can say is FIRE THE NUMBNUTz dialect coach...Ed Harris has seen lol better dayz but you just do not harass an enemy like that when u really mean to whack him....history of violence??? HUH? no correlation IMHO for any type of storyline that provokes insight or follow-up except snapping at threatening situations...if u wanna see great action scenes with double lives...go see TRUE LIES..sorry Viggo luved Hidalgo and have been a fan since WITNESS...the Cronenberg commentary was interesting that he NEVER EVER storyboards....whoa what a concept but I bet he couldn't sleep a wink thinking about all the bloodletting scenes, only time he came alive in the discussion......more info
  • HISTORY OF A GREAT MOVIE
    I loved this movie, i found it riviting. Im not a huge fan of Mortensen but i thought he was fantastic in this, the whole movie spins off of his great performance. I also loved William Hurts performance, he went totally against type, I laughed so hard. My friend recommended this, and i could not look away, i was revited by this movie, from start to finish. Great film, I highly recommend it, and im picky as hells...whom ever game this review an unhelpful is an idiot straight up....more info
  • A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)
    David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" has become of my favorite movies of the decade so far. The sex scene between Mario Bello and Viggo Mortensen on the staircase has all but become legendary. Just watching it makes my back hurt. That must have been so uncomfortable but still sexy. The great thing about having this DVD is that you can watch the scene over and over.

    The story is very simple but really effective. A man hiding his identity is found out by the thugs he is hiding from, just because of an act of bravery which got him on TV. They come and try to destroy his new life. Really not bad. I don't know why so many people don't like this movie....more info
  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    Exceptionally well-crafted scenes of bloodshed (Cronenberg is one of the best directors when it comes to making movie violence seem actually violent) and a stellar supporting turn from William Hurt lift this thriller above the ordinary; it's not a great film, but it is one which will most likely linger in your mind....more info
  • A History of Violence
    I had seen this movie before, but wanted to own it. It will always be up there as one of my all time favorite movies. It has everything--action, violence (but not gratuitous), sex and a storyline that really makes one think about how we view violence, when it seems acceptable and who really is the "bad guy." The sex scene on the stairs was erotic without being "trashy." Very believable. ...more info
  • Trouble in Indiana
    I have always been known to love a good action/thriller flick. And this didn't let me down. It was everything an action/thriller is meant to be. The narrative is a sprint. David Cronenberg just straps you in and takes you for a spin through the beautiful roads of a small town in Indiana. There are no pit stops or rest areas. This is not a marathon but a sprint.

    One of the most beautiful aspects of this movie, is the characterization of the 'bad guys'. Ed Harris and William Hurt play these with an exquisite blend of coldness and creepiness, that has been very rarely been seen on film. Also the shorter length of the movie (96 min) was a refreshing change.

    Tom Stall is your ideal family man. Great father, great husband and a diner owner who is loved by the people of this small town. The family portrait is disturbed one day when two criminals on a murder spree turn up at Tom Stall's diner. He reacts with alacrity to save his female worker and send these criminals to their fate. With that comes the swarm of TV cameras. And that brings some visitors from out of town. What follows is a peek into Tom Stall's past.

    Is he the family man that his wife, kids, community and us believe him to be?

    Warning: It has some serious graphic violence. Not over drawn out gore but authentic depictions of violence which may make you squirm.

    I should also mention that this movie contains one of the most intense sex scenes seen on film in the recent past. As with all the best scenes of this nature, it is not about the nudity but about the two people involved in it....more info
  • A Past That's Best Forgotten
    WARNING: This film contains strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality/nudity, explicit language, and brief drug use.

    In the film A History of Violence, director David Cronenberg (Videodrome and Crash) examines America's fascination with violence. At the same time, both compelling and disturbing, the film shows the way that violence affects the residents of a small town in the Midwest. Utilizing his sense of irony, as well as his cinematic ability to create suspense, Cronenberg focuses on the characters, their motivations, their actions, and their regrets. He forces viewers to ask themselves what the consequences of violence are and whether or not killing can ever be justified?

    Tom Stall and his family seem like your typical church-going, honest American family, but all of that changes on one fateful night when two psychotic criminals threaten the patrons of Tom's diner and Tom shoots them both, in self-defense, and kills them. Suddenly Tom finds himself a quasi-celebrity and the dynamic of his family shifts. His wife Edie, his son Jack, and his daughter Sarah become aware that Tom is more than what they thought. Their lives are intruded upon when a group of hitmen from Philadelphia claim that Tom is really a killer named Joey Cusack. Lead by a man named Carl Fogarty, the hitmen target Tom's family and Tom begins to show a paranoid and aggressive dark side that scares his loved ones. After a final confrontation with Fogarty and his men, Tom and his wife's marriage is fractured and their lives are forever altered. Is Tom really Joey, a killer for the mob? And if so, can he find redemption or is he always going to be haunted by this history of violence?

    The film is certainly Cronenberg's most commercial endeavor and this is in part because of the brilliant cast featuring Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, Maria Bello as Edie Stall, Ed Harris as Carl Fogarty, and William Hurt as Richie Cusack.
    When New Line Cinema released A History of Violence, they advertised it as an action/thriller, which isn't entirely accurate. While the film contains action and is sure to thrill, it's really more of a character study showing the dualism of one man's identity and his attempts to forget his past. It's also a stark reminder of what desperation can drive us to do.

    Also recommended:
    Straw Dogs
    Death Wish
    Taxi Driver
    The Bourne Identity (1988 television version)
    The Films of Michael Haneke
    Ransom
    Memento
    Road to Perdition...more info
  • Worst movie in the history of movies
    I don't understand it, maybe I got the wrong movie. I went on the various websites and read the reviews and heard good things in the past about the film. This movie had good reviews. Had a pretty good cast. But, after watching for about 10-20 minutes; things kind of go south. The dialogue is flat. Character/Goons show up and then suddenly get killed. The main character Viggo, kind of just stands there and doesn't really say anything throughout the film. History of Violence just felt like one of those made for TV USA movies.

    I don't even feel like this movie is worth my time, for me to go into detail about all of the elementary plot elements and B-movie acting.

    Horrible, horrible, horrible. You can shrug off my negative review; personally I hate reading those "this movie sucks" reviews, also. But, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't warn other souls about yet another uninspiring, American movie murder-fest. Life is just too short.

    EDITED: I am reading some of the other Amazon reviews, it must be a conspiracy on the part of the film-makers. People must be paid to post positive reviews about this film. I guess if my million dollar acting/directing career were on the line, I guess I would do it to. That is the only way I can explain how I was duped into watching this....more info
  • A Minor Classic
    This is another classy film from director David Cronenberg. Its a compelling story of a normal guy running a Coffee bar who's life changes dramtically when some nasty characters turn up late one evening and try and rob the place.

    This is cleverly done, excellently acted, especially by Ed Harris and William Hurt in their supporting roles. The film is concise being just over 90 minutes, and certainly I couldn't predict where it was going. Cronenberg as always directs with his unique style. This film is certainly more mainstream than most of his, but it is in a different class from your average Hollywood thriller.

    Whether the premise of the film is believable or not is irrelevent; this is a great piece of entertainment from the spooky opening right through to the end. The film is probably nearer 5 stars for me, and further viewings will no doubt confirm this.
    ...more info
  • Watch for 2 minutes every 30 minutes...
    Awful! Need to watch of super-fast forward. Not very clever or thought-provoking, just horrible. The special features were better than the movie itself, and that's saying something. ...more info
  • golden violence
    When you hear the title "History of Violence" you probably think of some kind of documentary focusing on history between people from all over the world. Well, it's not that. This is just a movie that focuses on one family where the wife, husband, son and daughter seem to disagree with each other on many occasions, and in fact, it stretches beyond the family. Some of the scenes were truly unbelievable in a graphic kind of way, such as a certain something that happens on the stairs of the home. The violence actually kicks in pretty heavily towards the end, but without spoiling anything, I'll just leave it at that. It's not a classic film, but it's dark and quiet tone makes it worth watching....more info
  • rather graphic, but then that is how it is named
    This is a good and interesting film that examines how a violent past can come back to haunt the perpetrator, no matter how hard he tried to overcome it and forge a new identity. With the exception of the denouement, the violent scenes are briefer than the sex ones and none of it feels gratuitous. While I could have done without the closeups of smashed noses and shredded faces, it does bring it home. But the theme of the film - how the psychology of the entire family is affected when secrets are revealed - makes this unusual and special. The actors are simply wonderful as well. Recommended....more info
  • What a movie!!!
    Anybody who seriously believes the all-important "wow" factor has gone missing from certain movies lately can now finally end their drawn-out disputes. "A History of Violence," put mildly, blew me clear out of my chair! David Cronenberg has totally redefined the action genre and shaped it into something all his own.

    He casts Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a quiet family man and small-town diner owner who quickly becomes a reluctant hero after decisively silencing two would-be thieves. This story soon draws the heated attention of mobster Carl Fogarty who, along with his loyal followers, seems to feel that Tom may somehow be linked to their organization's shady past. As these men begin to methodically encircle Tom's frightened family, tensions rise and personal suspicions skyrocket. Is Tom Stall really the loving, dedicated husband and father he so adamantly professes? Or has his forgotten and abandoned prior life come back to haunt him in ways he could never possibly imagine?

    Discovering the answers to those two questions are what ultimately makes experiencing this barn-burner of a motion picture so much unapologetic fun! I cannot truthfully remember the last time a movie like this generated so much adrenaline-fueled excitement. The principal performers, between Mortensen, the wonderful Ed Harris, and William Hurt, are all standouts. But the pacing is absolutely phenomenal. This is a movie that very literally flies off the screen. Cronenberg throws so much at you throughout the entire film's 96-minute running time, and yet you're still left hungering for more. The violence is straight-ahead and in-your-face. It more than earns its coveted "R" rating.

    As far as the DVD, itself....you couldn't ask for a better package. The "Acts of Violence" documentary, along with three other featurettes, does an exceptional job at breaking down the deeply-layered particulars of the film. And you even get to hear Cronenberg, himself, interject his own thoughts as they relate to the film's storied production.

    This is an overall great movie and one you're not likely to forget anytime soon. I know I certainly won't!
    ...more info
  • Home town hero
    While somewhat predictable, it's a great movie. I loved it. It keeps you going. I'm glad I have this movie in my collection. My only complaint is the movie was not long enough. I think they should have given us a little more background on Tom,i.e., how he came to be in the
    Witness Protection Program. Well directed and put together. I recommend this movie to people who like action....more info
  • Pretentious title, movie garbage
    Pretentious title, movie garbage. I kept thinking, "This has to be tongue in cheek. He can't be serious." But apparently he was.

    What is William Hurt doing in a thing like this? Fortunately, he isn't in it for long.

    An experienced moviegoer would guess from the casting of the hero everything that was to follow.

    ...more info
  • A mobster's retirement
    Viggo Mortensen portrays a character named Tom Stahl. There is nothing salient or remarkable about Tom; he lives a simple life, owns a coffee shop in a small town in Indiana and tries his best to be a good husband and family man. Tom Stahl would be an excellent subject for a Norman Rockwell painting.

    However, Tom has a deep dark secret that is exposed via a random chance encounter with bad guys who wish to rob his coffee shop. Tom was formerly Joey, and Joey was a hit-man for the Philadelphia mob. After the incident, Tom's buried past is disinterred.

    Such is an outline of the plot line. The movie is well worth seeing to see the psychological struggle between a man who almost has a sort of split-personality complex. Both Tom & Joey would like nothing better than to live the mundane, unglamorous life of Tom Stahl. However, the abilities of Joey must be called upon to preserve that life of normalcy & protect his family.

    I very much enjoyed this film as it is something of a "switch" from what we're used to. So many times, movies center around every-day characters who fantasize about being secret agents and such. In this case, the main character is a highly trained killer who wants nothing more than a life of peace, simplicity and obscurity.

    Even though I'm not huge on mob movies, I would highly recommend this one. It's a sort of mob movie with a "twist" if you will. It's a well done film and Mortensen does a good job of going back & forth between his two antipodal alter-egos. ...more info
  • Cronenberg's History is Better Than This
    I've got no problem with movie violence and there is plenty of rapid fire,neck breaking, high adreniline nastiness here. Well filmed and seemingly full of trhills and promise, this film falls in that it kills off the notable antagonists before we get to develop a good hatred for them,then adding insult to injury, director Cronenberg barely explains it at all with a convoluted real identity/past life yarn.Viggo Mortensen stars as Tom Stall,a mild mannered diner owner in small town Indiana who's quiet life unravels after a violent confrontation with two armed robbers.
    Maria Bello wins as Mortensens sexy wife,Ed Harris places with a good faux Philly mob accent, John Hurt shows up but delivers a very unimpressive role as a heavyweight....more info
  • The past catches up with you
    A young MOB killer tries to have a new clean, normal life
    and 20 years later when two small time robber / killers try to
    hurt his diner employees, he reverts to boyhood 'skills'.
    That gets him press and the MOB comes looking for him.
    They find him and his teen age son
    who doesn't fall short of the tree.
    His brother is an east coast boss who tries to kill him when he tries to make peace there,too. Sort of a Shakespeare tragedy of all MOB dead on stage...
    Any ending here can't be classically happy....more info
  • Better Than I expected...
    I was under the impression from a viewer of the movie that the acting was bad but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the acting BUT the best thing for me that I got from this flick was the fact that the directing style I was really impressed with. Acting was good but it was the direction that really grabbed my eye and the scenes were just enough and not overly graphic and definitely got the point across. Kudos to this movie and the Title of it is a lot more than it actually shows....more info
  • EXCELLENT FILM! NOT JUST ANOTHER ACTION THRILLER!
    This movie surprised the H E L L out of me! Great action, but much more below the surface going on. What could have been an average thriller turned out to be an engrossing story. Much better than I expected. The DVD transfer is very good!...more info
  • Barely made it through
    I hardly made it through this movie. I love Viggo Mortensen, and that's the only reason I stuck with it. The acting was sub par and left a LOT to be desired. Everyone was very monotone and inexpressive. The plot had the potential to be interesting, but wasn't followed through with. The soundtrack also was uninteresting and didn't really add to the film. If you want an interesting action movie, look elsewhere....more info
  • Possibly Cronenberg's best film
    I finally got round to seeing this (on telly) and it's a great movie. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, unflinching. Cronenberg uses the theme of violence to explore other topics such as love, loyalty and redemption (notably all the family wear crosses). Excellent film, with great central performances from the always good Maria Bello and Viggo Mortensen....more info
  • A Mixed History
    After reading all the rave reviews received by A History of Violence, I was a little disappointed when I saw the film. The first part has the power of things hidden under the surface. But once you find out the truth about Tom Stall, the movie quickly falls apart. As nice as it was seeing William Hurt (where has he been all these years?) the subplot with him was so over the top, it was a little silly....more info
  • Mainstream Cronenberg
    David Cronenberg (The Fly (Two-Disc Collector's Edition), Videodrome - Criterion Collection) is an artful and masterful director. There's no denying it. The man behind such films as Dead Ringers - Criterion Collection, Naked Lunch - Criterion Collection and Shivers comes with this film, a stark difference from his fist films of the century.

    A History of Violence is about a man who, after becoming a local hero, is hounded by a couple of mobsters who believe he is someone else.

    The strength in this movie isn't the script alone, it's the directing of one David Cronenberg. A movie that you should see, maybe it'll spark your interest in the often overlooked David Cronenberg.

    The DVD includes a commentary from the director, a few featurettes going over every aspect of the filmmaking, a "Too Commercial for Cannes" feature, a deleted scene, and the behind the scenes of that deleted scenes.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • See It For Harris And A Handful Of Masterful Scenes
    While on the whole, I found this movie mixed on many levels, from logic to some of the performances. However, there are about 8 scenes in here to me that are some of the most compelling in recent memory; The kind you rewatch again and think about days after seeing them. The ones involving conflict or payback are top notch, as are some of the more 'human' ones; But for example, I found the 'bully' stuff kind of 'ABC Afterschool Special'-like, but found the end result of that storyline very satisfying; Also in the like, I found the confrontation between Viggo and Harris(w/goons by his side...)brilliant, but the other end w/Hurt not so much. It was almost like you wished the movie had ended with the more powerful scene, not that the other wasn't creative. It just had less of an impact. I remember thinking after the Viggo/Harris scene that the movie had to be almost over. And I would have to say I felt the story started to drift a little more aimlessly after that paticular sequence. But there's no doubt all involved are highly talented and present an overall powerful film; Harris steals the movie, and Cronenberg proves when given the right material he can really show these younger directors how things are done. Oh, it seems there was also alot more sex than violence in this movie, or maybe just about even. ...more info
  • Another hit for Cronenberg.........................
    Director: David Cronenberg, Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt.
    History of Violence is a repugnant bloodbath, which pretty much directs this movie throughout. Tom Stall (Mortensen,) a family man who lives in a small town who becomes a hero after he stops a potentially burglary in his restaurant. Noted for his civil measures, Stall and his family find their lives irretrievably intruded upon, first by the media and secondly by some gangsters who wind up claiming that Stall is a mob guy with a taste for killing.
    This is a Cronenberg, revenge movie that works well, because of the great acting. Each scene is loaded with substantial detail, building up character profiles without cluttering the story with unnecessary dialogue. This is a film enhanced with big issues, big violence, big production, illusions of civilization, sex, death, and in the end what I consider animalistic and harsh, uncaring natures--BUT THE FILM WORKS AND WORKS WELL.
    ...more info
  • Excellent movie....Beautiful Blu Ray version
    I Love this movie and now that it's in Blu ray...the picture is even sharper and the sound is awesome. I wish there was more deleted scenes like the stair case one!...more info
  • Is the Past Really the Past?
    Tom Stall runs a diner in a small town. He is well liked by the people and well loved by his family. His stock goes up even more when he thwarts a violent hold up in his diner by killing the two criminals.

    But the news coverage gets the attention of even more violent thugs from Philadelphia, thugs who claim that Tom Stall was known other than the former gangster Joey Cusack. Tom vehemently denies the charges, but over the course of the film, you learn that there is nonetheless a history of violence.

    The acting is great, the plot is disturbing, and the conclusion will have you thinking for a long time. I thought it was a well made movie....more info
  • Thought Provoking
    The title may be off putting for some but this movie is a deep and intense look inside the human mind. Does the situation one is born into - a crime family of sorts - mean that that is the only option open to us or can we (at great personal risk) try to forge a better and more decent life for ourselves? I really felt for Tom and also for his family. The reactions were genuine and true to the drama. I had never seen Viggo in anything so this was an unknown factor for me. Since, Eastern Promises also shows his range. Maria Bello gives a wonderful and honest portrait of what could have been a one sided role as wife. All in all, very thought provoking and a real gem....more info
  • cronenberg attempts to minimalize style
    seems like dave put asthetics on the backburner for this so that the story could ring true through the characters instead;a cool move.performances good,story good,music decent.not cronenberg's best but still a kneck above the usual theater trash!...more info
  • cliche
    It's not a bad movie per se, but it does boarder on being pretentious, a trend which starts at the title. With a name like "A History of Violence" you expect some profound exposition on the nature of violence in society, and this movie doesn't deliver. The notion of a former fighter forced into a situation where he has to resume his violent ways is far from a novel one. I could list several Westerns, spy movies, and comic books that have a similar plot, and I'm sure you could too.

    The fact that the bad guys in this movie, from the over the top high school bully stereotype to the psychotic restaurant killers, are almost too bad to be believed helps to push this movie more into the category of escapist entertainment. (Then again, reading the news recently, I guess you should never underestimate the capacity for human evil.)

    But still, the questions this film raises are almost clich¨¦. "What would you do if someone threatened your family at gun point? Could you justify violence then?" I think most of us have been in several discussions about this hypothetical situation ever since middle school or before. I recall several religion classes and youth group discussions devoted to this hypothetical growing up. I suppose it's a question that deserves consideration, even if it is a tired clich¨¦, but this movie adds nothing to the debate.
    ...more info

 

 
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