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David Cronenberg's 2005 thriller about a family man who may have a dark past as a killer.

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A Swift, Violent Ride

  • Jul 21, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
Viggo Mortensen takes off his cowboy hat from "Hidalgo," his sword from "LOTR," and trades them in for a shotgun, a number of handguns, and a few swift punches to the throat to flesh out his role of Tom Stall in "A History Of Violence." The flick starts off with a bit of a surprise, then uses the next twenty or so minutes to build up the monotony, simplicity, and happiness of Stall's life. He has a perfect wife, Edie (Maria Bello), a good son (Ashton Holmes), and an innocent daughter (Heidi Hayes). His quiet little diner doesn't draw a lot of business outside of the little town's citizens, but that doesn't bother Tom.

One day two murderous thieves stroll into town and try to take the money from Tom's diner and the lives of everyone inside. With swift and lethal accuracy, Tom takes out both men. His actions garner the attention of the major news networks and his face is soon plastered all over the country. This draws out some very seedy characters headed up by a grizzled and gamey Ed Harris, who thinks that Tom is actually Joey Cusack, a Mob hitman from Philadelphia.

Threats and plenty of violence follow as the viewer has to decide whether or not Tom really is Joey Cusack. Once the truth is revealed, another character (William Hurt) enters the fray.

This is a very interesting flick to watch. It is definitely a violent film and the "R"-rating needs to be taken seriously. There's a little nudity, some sexuality that includes violent sex, and some very crude language. Blood splatters, globs, goos, and gushes from just about everyone in this flick, so be warned of that.

The acting is stellar. Mortensen does a wonderful job as Stall, and everyone in his family and in the small town are perfectly cast. William Hurt has a brief but key role and does everything he can with it. Ed Harris is perfect in his role of Fogarty, a tough, aging mobster who has a score to settle with Joey Cusack. He's my personal favorite in this film.

Overall, this is a definite purchase for fans of the director, David Cronenberg. It's unlike any other flick he's put out, and his fans know what I mean. People who like flicks about the mob, action yarns, and even a little mystery will also enjoy this flick. Most folks may want to rent this before purchasing it, since it does have quite a few intense moments in it that many may not wish to see more than once. I personally recommend it, but please be warned that it isn't your average action flick.

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More A History of Violence (2005 fi... reviews
review by . April 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Nature of violence is a dark and dangerous path down the road to death and sorrow....
For as long as humanity has existed we have always been violent we may have not been created that way  but somewhere down the line  we found out that violence  could save us or destroy us. It all depends on if we choose to use violence as a means of salvation or as a means of destruction in David Cronenberg's blunt yet very insightful film raises thought provoking and shocking questions about the true nature of violence and how it can affect some and change others. how sometimes …
Quick Tip by . October 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A movie in two halves. A world in two halves too. Nicely delineated. Cleverly done.
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Poster
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 …
review by . April 29, 2009
This is one of those movies that seems to start off as a powerhouse and then peters off where the director was not sure where to take it and the movie seems to feel more like a long Sopranos episode than a feature length film.     Tom Stall runs a diner in a small Indiana town with his wife. Tom is the "nice" guy with the adoring wife that works with him and two children that everyone in the town "knows." One day there is trouble in the diner which causes Tom to get into a fight …
review by . November 08, 2008
A History Of Violence
I was anxious to watch 'A History Of Violence' because I had heard it was quite, well, violent. While there are two very exceptionally gross scenes, the violence unfortunately didn't fit it with the rest of the movie. For the most part, 'A History Of Violence' is a rather boring movie that takes a long time to get going.     Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) owns a diner in the quiet, rural town of Millbrook, IN, has a beautiful wife and two well-behaved children. When two thugs enter …
review by . March 06, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: That the dvd didn't come with something sharp to harm myself with.      Cons: That the dvd didn't come with something sharp to harm myself with.      The Bottom Line: Not the worst movie ever, but it would be on an top ten for most dull.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.      Never have I been so bored by a movie where so many people die.      …
review by . December 11, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of those movies that seems to start off as a powerhouse and then peters off where the director was not sure where to take it and the movie seems to feel more like a long Sopranos episode than a feature length film.    Tom Stall runs a diner in a small Indiana town with his wife. Tom is the "nice" guy with the adoring wife that works with him and two children that everyone in the town "knows." One day there is trouble in the diner which causes Tom to get into a fight …
review by . March 22, 2006
The idea that a movie with graphic depictions of murder could also be deep and incredibly interesting didn't cross my mind until I saw "A History of Violence." I understand now why David Cronenberg chose to direct it; his films are nothing if not bizarre and over the top, but they also have an underlying complexity that makes them fascinating to watch. Maybe that's because he chooses stories that focus primarily on the dark recesses of the human mind and the realities they create for the individual. …
review by . March 17, 2006
Too many times I've watched a movie expecting greatness and not getting that. I just knew A History Of Violence would be good but it only met some of my expectations. Although it will keep you entertained you might get mad at it lacking some realness. It may look real but trust me it doesn't look real enough and it goes on for the entire movie. For example when Tom saves his diner and the people in it he hits one of the robbers in the face with a pot of coffee and it's so obvious it's digitalized. …
review by . March 16, 2006
In "A History of Violence," director, David Cronenberg, creates a masterful study of the human psyche adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke. Performances by Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ashton Holmes, Ed Harris and a particularly enjoyable one by William Hurt intensify from one frame to the next, bringing to life the simple plot line that unfurls a deeper metaphor with as many tasty layers as an Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion.     Rather …
About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Starring Viggo Mortenson, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt
Directed by David Cronenberg
Writer:  John Olson (screenplay)
2005

Product Description
An average family is thrust into the spotlight after the father (Viggo Mortensen) commits a seemingly self-defense murder at his diner.

Canadian director David Cronenberg, whose impressive oeuvre includes such disparate works as THE DEAD ZONE, THE FLY, DEAD RINGERS, M. BUTTERFLY, and SPIDER, has made what might be the best film of his career with A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Loosely based on the graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, the movie stars Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a quiet, easygoing family man who runs a diner in a small Indiana town. But when two dangerous criminals come into the restaurant prepared to wreak havoc, Stall turns hero and shoots them both. After Stall's story is blasted all over the media, Philly mobster Carl Fogaty (an excellent Ed Harris) shows up, claiming that Tom is actually former hit man Joey Cusack--and they've got some important business to finish. While Stall insists that Fogaty is mistaken, his family--his wife, Edie (Maria Bello); teenage son, Jack (Ashton Holmes); and young daughter, Sarah (Heidi Hayes)--gets dragged into the danger that constantly threatens to explode. Cronenberg, whose films ...
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Details

Director: David Cronenberg
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: September 23, 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Josh Olson
DVD Release Date: March 14, 2006
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Studio: New Line Cinema
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