A History of Violence - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A History of Violence Reviews

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November 29, 2016
I really liked this. Very unexpected
½ November 20, 2016
Feels very 90s, especially the soundtrack.
November 5, 2016
I have seen films about the ordinary small town man haunted by his past and he has to revert to the person he once was before but A History of Violence does it so well. Viggo Mortensen has said that this was his favourite character to play and for good reason. All of these characters are deep and complex and the drama and tension they go through is really intense. This film isn't a shoot 'em up movie with bodies flying left, right and centre but whenever violence does need to come into play in the story, man is it some brutal violence. I'm talking Django Unchained level of violence but without the large bodycount. This is a really good movie. It's on Netflix. Check it out!
October 28, 2016
A very overlooked film that shows Viggo at one of his best performances, History of Violence delivers as a thriller and a mystery film that shows how no one can escape the past.
½ October 16, 2016
What fascinates me about this movie isn't actually the premise for the film itself, but it's implications. This movie suggests that violence isn't enstiled in people themselves, but the circumstances those people find themselves in. Also the fact that for the premise that this movie has it isn't particularly masculine. Its very subdued and impartial which was interesting to me. This could've easily just been an action movie, but in the hands of David Cronenberg it became something entirely different and all together better.
October 16, 2016
A History of Violence is a very intense movie with great performances by everyone.
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2016
Flat out fantastic movie. Viggo takes this one by the reigns and never lets go. Lots of bloody violence, but the story is compelling and believable enough that you end up tagging along.
September 24, 2016
It has great dramatic tension and an intriguing story. My only complaint is that I would have preferred to see the second act extended and the third act diminished.

Grade: A-
September 13, 2016
Viggo Mortensen is Tom Stall in A History of Violence, a must see shocking drama with some startling moments of reality! I really enjoyed this movie for the performance from Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings trilogy)
September 6, 2016
Not the most highly developed backstory of all time, but it was good. Could've done without the gratuitous 69 scene. The wife is a freak.
August 28, 2016
I first saw A History of Violence back in 2006. I thought it was a perfect movie at the time. Ten years later, I've watched it again for what has to be the forty-ninth time and I'm still struggling to find something wrong with it. My cons are literally empty, folks. There's my tagline.

Who is Joey Cusack? You don't find out until deep into the movie, but you find out very quickly who Tom Stall (Viggo Mortenson) is. Tom is a family man running a diner named after his own surname. He's friendly, quiet, and loved by his wife and two children. Everything is going great in Tom's life until some pretty shady characters show up at his diner accusing him of being a former gangster by the name of Joey Cusack. These men are refusing to leave town and will do whatever is necessary for Tom to come clean and return with them back to Philadelphia.

The dialogue is slow but meaningful. It purposefully helps put your mind in the state of sleepy Millbrook, Indiana. The words are intense and powerful, especially between Tom and his wife Edie (Maria Bello). It appears that Tom and Edie haven't had many problems in the time they were married and they both seem unsure of how to handle this new threat that's now attacking their marriage. Being a part of the audience, you are watching a beautiful disaster unfold. Even during the peaceful times in the film, there's a quiet sense of something floating just underneath the surface. You can't quite put your finger on it, but it's there.

Purposeful. Word of the day. That's what makes this film so powerful and memorable. Every single scene, every single word that's uttered, it all has a purpose.

In the words of Salt 'N' Pepa, "Let's talk about sex." While it doesn't lead me to ever deducting points from a movie, I think a lot of sex scenes in film are unnecessary. For the most part, they never seem to go with the flow of the story, rather they pull you out of it. A History of Violence does have a sex scene and it's a pretty graphic one. Not only does it work for the film, but it's actually one of the more important scenes. It succeeds on multiple levels by homing in on a relationship that's on the rocks and exploring what both characters are desiring at that given time. It's something you have to see to fully understand.

The film grabs you from the first five minutes and never lets go after that. Each character is set up and developed excellently, from Tom's teenage son Jack, a reclusive nerd who just wants to make it through high school without getting his butt kicked, right down to Charlotte (Deborah Drakeford), one of Tom's employees at the diner who has a good soul and an innocent heart. Again these characters are purposeful, serving a vital part in the film's overall story.

And what a grand story A History of Violence turns out to be. I literally have nothing bad to say about it. Therefore, I give a well-deserved 100.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2016
A History of Violence stars Viggo Mortensen as Tom Stall, a restaurant owner in small town Indiana living with his wife (Maria Bello) and two kids. Tom's life takes a turn when he stops two robbers attempting to murder his customers and steal his money.

I had no prior knowledge going into this movie aside from the fact that it's on the list of YouTube film critic Chris Stuckmann's "50 movies of the 2000's to see before you die." I was immediately intrigued by the opening sequence involving the two robbers, and Mortensen and family reeled me in the rest of the way. The family dynamic was effectively established, especially between Mortensen and Bello. The teenage son, played by Ashton Holmes, also played a big role, clearly developing his arc based on his father's actions. The school bully the son has to deal with was ridiculously overacted, though.

I used the word "intriguing" earlier, and that's how I'd define this movie overall. Without spoiling anything, I will say that Mortensen delivers a heck of a performance with extreme contrasts in his character motives. The movie is equal parts cause and effect, my favorite aspect being the effect. There's a scene before the final act that really stands out, and, unfortunately, the movie dies down from there. William Hurt's character is introduced with under 20 minutes left of film (including credits), and his average performance garnered him an Oscar nomination for supporting actor despite having less screen time than Godzilla in the new Godzilla movie (under 7 minutes - I went back and timed it). He wasn't bad, but there wasn't enough there to justify the nomination.

Overall, A History of Violence is a solid movie about family dynamics. Despite a weak ending, I enjoyed Mortensen and Bello a lot. If you enjoy solid acting and don't mind a bit of blood, give this one a watch.

Final grade: B-
July 14, 2016
The first time i watched it, i thought it was ok. But after i rewatched it and i started thinking about it, i realized it was a very good film with dark themes.
July 14, 2016
Really an excellent movie ever
June 27, 2016
A mystery of silence.
June 1, 2016
good suspencer & another lost review
May 29, 2016
This proved to be a compelling story, action packed into just over 90 mins. It's had pride of place in my DVD cupboard for a period of time, and although has been on the 'want to see' list for quite a while, the trailers have never fully twisted my arm into watching it sooner rather than later. Clearly I didn't know what I was missing as this was a serious gangster style beat em' up number with violence, sex, language, you name it. When Tom Stall prevents a couple of robbers from stealing from his local cafe, little did he know what fame and attention it would bring him across his small town community. Shortly after, it's not only the police and the press that come knocking on his door, but a whole new gang of fugitives, looking to get even with someone they believe to have wronged them in the past. Is this a case of mistaken identity? They certainly don't think so despite him and his families denial. As the threats become deeper and his wife and children are taken hostage, the tension grows between all involved, including us as an audience. I was genuinely unsure about what direction this would take and it was gripping to the finish. Left slightly frustrated by the final scenes in the sense that it's quite open to interpretation but if I'm honest, that's just an OCD thing on my part, as the conclusion kind of fitted with the way the story went. Didn't actually realise that the lead actor was Mr Mortenson from Lord of the Rings fame, so with a supporting role from Ed Harris, this shaped up to be quite the hidden gem of cinema. Easy viewing with a concept that wasn't using violence for violence sake, and definitely recommendable for date nights across the globe (albeit definitely more a lads choice than lasses).
½ May 29, 2016
You have to give it up to Viggo Mortensen for his excellent range of acting within two hours of the story. And the script is apparently very well written that it peels down layer after layer without hasting. The music score taps right into you.
May 22, 2016
Seeing as he's mostly known for his body horror genre, David Cronenberg's A History of Violence really stands out among his filmography. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely not his strongest outing. Like every Cronenberg film, there's a lot of interesting themes at play here: among the themes in this case is a fascinating analysis of violence. It's a gripping idea at times, but at other times, it gets lost and muddled in a story that might be just a tad too complex. This is a film that is focused mostly on character, which is never truly a bad thing, but the actual plot sometimes suffers due to the lack of focus in that regard. The film also features a twist that is kind of hit-or-miss for this story: it never actually brings the movie down in any way, but this story could easily be told the same way, perhaps even better, without it. The acting here is definitely the highlight though: Viggo Mortensen's performance and the way he balances a wide spectrum of emotion really keeps the film afloat, while Maria Bello and William Hurt complement his character very well in very differing ways. This is a mostly fascinating character study that, in spite of some noticeable plot flaws, is a truly thought-provoking experience.
½ May 17, 2016
What can I say really. A History Of Violence is what I have been looking for in the action thriller genre. A bit of mystery and action in between is what your want some of the time in movies. If you're looking for a good movie with a good complex and style of action, then watch A History Of Violence.
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