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A History of Violence (2005)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
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 in this action thriller.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

John Wagner (graphic novel), Vince Locke (graphic novel) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
2,171 ( 338)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 80 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Viggo Mortensen ... Tom Stall
Maria Bello ... Edie Stall
Ed Harris ... Carl Fogarty
William Hurt ... Richie Cusack
Ashton Holmes ... Jack Stall
Peter MacNeill ... Sheriff Sam Carney
Stephen McHattie ... Leland
Greg Bryk ... Billy
Kyle Schmid ... Bobby Singer
Sumela Kay ... Judy Danvers
Gerry Quigley Gerry Quigley ... Mick
Deborah Drakeford Deborah Drakeford ... Charlotte
Heidi Hayes ... Sarah Stall
Aidan Devine ... Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald Bill MacDonald ... Frank Mulligan
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Storyline

This thrill-packed actioner follows 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 ... 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Viggo Mortensen bought many props for the diner and the Stall home from his trip in the American Midwest. This helped him get deeper into his character. See more »

Goofs

When Edie drives up to the shopping center, the shadow of the camera and crane is visible in the driver window as she opens the door. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Before its theatrical release in India in 2006, the film was certified A (adults only), but with cuts. Some of these including deletion of visuals showing a man's face blown off and taking off undergarment during sex were cut on the demand of the censor board, while other cuts like a lady lifting her skirt and showing her undergarment, an explicit sex scene and the sex scene on stairs, were made voluntarily by the applicant after the film's examination by the board. See more »

Connections

References Larry King Live (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Life of a Fool
Written by Paul Burch
Performed by Paul Burch
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Not classic Cronenberg, but still worth a watch.
2 November 2007 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

I was raised on the body-shock horror of David Cronenberg's earlier films (Shivers, Rabid, Scanners), and grew to love the weird, twisted, and often very bloody imagery that typified his 70s and 80s cinema. But for the last decade or so, his output has appealed to me less and less, with efforts such as Spider, M. Butterfly, and Crash—movies that appear to be more art-house than horror—failing to pique my interest.

However, on the strength of some very positive reviews, and an intriguing trailer, I decided to give this one a go, to see if the film could reignite my interest in the Canadian auteur's career.

A violent (natch!) tale of revenge and redemption, A History Of Violence sees Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a small-town family man who becomes a media sensation after he foils a violent robbery in his diner (by disarming the criminals and killing them both!).

Unfortunately, Tom's sudden fame brings him to the attention of a gangster and his cronies, who believe that the reluctant hero is actually a fellow criminal who has gone into hiding after upsetting his peers. The bad guys show up in Tom's town and begin to cause trouble for him and his family.

Whilst I wouldn't exactly say that I have seen the light, and returned to the fold, happy once more to worship at the altar of Cronenberg, I will admit to enjoying A History Of Violence. But perhaps not on the level that the director might have been hoping for.

As Tom's perfect world starts to fall apart, we witness the impact that this has on all members of his family, and see how their relationships evolve. I believe Cronenberg's intention was for his audience to think long and hard on the subject of morality (was Mortensen's character good or bad and did he deserve a second chance at happiness), and how not being honest with those that you love can result in tragedy.

Unfortunately, I wasn't completely sold on the deep and meaningful stuff; it seemed a little forced to me. But I did find the film tense and disturbing, enjoying the mystery as it unfolded, and I also appreciated the many nasty scenes in which Viggo gets brutal on the baddies, snapping their necks, shooting them at close range, crushing larynxes, and even punching one guy's nose-bone into his cranium. There's also quite a bit of frenetic sex in the film for all of the pervs amongst us, including impromptu rutting on the stairs and a 69 (between Tom and his tasty wife, played by Maria Bello, who kindly flashes her beaver).

A History Of Violence isn't classic Cronenberg, but it has made me interested enough to want to see what his next film can offer me in the way of sex and violence.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

USA | Germany | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A History of Violence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$364,000, 25 September 2005

Gross USA:

$31,504,633

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$61,385,065
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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