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A History of Violence (2005)

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A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.

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(graphic novel), (graphic novel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sheriff Sam Carney
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Billy
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Gerry Quigley ...
Mick
Deborah Drakeford ...
Charlotte
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Sarah Stall
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Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald ...
Frank Mulligan
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Storyline

This is the story of a mild-mannered man, named Tom Stall, who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, he lives a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. But one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the... Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Tom Stall had the perfect life... until he became a hero. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

30 September 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una historia violenta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$515,992 (USA) (23 September 2005)

Gross:

$31,493,782 (USA) (3 February 2006)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an interview, Viggo Mortensen stated that during the shooting of the first bar scene with Ed Harris he could not stop laughing, and as a result, the scene had to be re-shot several times. Due to Viggo Mortensen's behavior, Ed Harris completed the scene without pants; he only wore his underwear, yet this cannot be seen as the bar table impedes our view. Thus, Viggo Mortensen had to act seriously while Ed Harris was not wearing any pants, and this is the scene that is used in the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Edie gets up from the stairs after her passionate encounter with Tom, she pulls her skirt down. The next time the camera shows her she again pulls her skirt down. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
William Orser: [Leland and Billy walk out of the motel room] So we keep headin' east?
Leland Jones: Yeah, that's the idea.
William Orser: Stay out of the big cities?
Leland Jones: Uh-huh.
William Orser: I think I'm tired.
Leland Jones: [Leland smiles] Yeah. Me, too.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Club Hoppin'
Written by Michael Foster and Darrell 'Digga' Branch
Performed by Blinky Blink
Courtesy of Spirit Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of Cronenberg's best and most accessible films
9 April 2006 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Cronenberg's adaptation of a Wagner and Locke graphic novel places a simple American family man, and his all-American family, into a new and disturbing context which has them questioning everything they think they know. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) owns a little diner in a small town and has a nice house on the outskirts of town, where he and his wife Edie (Maria Bello) raise their two kids apparently living the American dream in their own way. One day at the diner, two murderers pop by at closing time for some cherry pie, and Tom's heroic defense of his diner, his customers and himself sets off a series of events that threaten his family, his sanity and his life. The eerie tension never lets up in this powerful examination of identity, honesty and violence.

David Cronenberg has directed some of my favorite off-beat films - the masterpiece Naked Lunch, Scanners, Videodrome. I have watched these films many times and I still find them interesting. I can't really call myself a fan, however, because there are also just as many Cronenberg films out there which I found difficult to get through the first time (Crash, eXistenZ, Dead Ringers). Cronenberg enjoys creating disturbing situations and imagery, and wants to get under your skin and to stimulate your mind on as many levels as he can. In most cases, he pulls it off masterfully, but sometimes, his emphasis on the bizarre can come across as pretentious and forced.

Like a lot of very creative and intelligent people, Cronenberg sometimes leaves his signature virtually everywhere in his work. And sometimes, a director needs to make a film which does everything they want to accomplish but leaves off the signature. For example - the brilliant David Lynch showed us his ability to jump out of his own skin with Elephant Man and The Straight Story. These are still very much Lynch films, but they also appeal to the wider audience of mainstream cinema-goers. A History of Violence is, in some ways, Cronenberg's most straightforward film. A key to its success is that it is very easy to forget that you are watching a Cronenberg film, no matter how aware you are of Cronenberg's many quirks, idiosyncrasies and trademarks. It is so masterfully directed that, although the plot is not entirely unpredictable, you are right there in the action with the characters and feeling what they feel so that, though you may know what's next, you never exactly see it coming and you never know how it will take you there.

Viggo Mortensen, in his best mainstream role since Aragorn, and Maria Bello (one of the actors who made The Cooler worth watching), head an impressive cast in this adaptation of a Wagner and Locke graphic novel. Nobody in the cast slips up at all. The script is intense, realistic, and probably did nothing to make the performances easy. The plot, if described without the plot and the context created by the script, would seem somewhat absurd, but like Woody Allen's Match Point, it's absurdity does not make it impossible to believe. Editing, directing and pure performance combine to make flawless performances for this cast. Backed up by veterans Ed Harris and William Hurt, and very strongly supported by the excellent Maria Bello, Mortensen is shockingly excellent in a difficult role. I can't explain why without giving too much of the film away. Although the rest of the cast did exactly as they were supposed to, I want to single out Ashton Holmes - an actor I was completely unfamiliar with but who I will look out for in the future.

I recommend A History of Violence highly. It is one of my top five reasons for considering 2005 to have been a great year in North American film.


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