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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 656 Ratings

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  1. Nov 8, 2012
    10
    It is very rare that a film is so compelling that it keeps my eyes absolutely glued to the screen from its opening sequence to its final frame. Surely, A History of Violence is one of the great films of the decade.
  2. MikeL.
    Nov 11, 2005
    10
    C'mon people - METAPHOR! The look of the film, the performances and the story play with/twist standardized forms from the inside out. Its supposed to feel awkward and stilted, that's the idea! The film can feel uncomfortable to watch cuz it mirrors our own superficial, hair's breadth distance from a history of the worst kind of violence. From apehood to rape to the miriad C'mon people - METAPHOR! The look of the film, the performances and the story play with/twist standardized forms from the inside out. Its supposed to feel awkward and stilted, that's the idea! The film can feel uncomfortable to watch cuz it mirrors our own superficial, hair's breadth distance from a history of the worst kind of violence. From apehood to rape to the miriad abuses of power, the human race is still in its infancy and we're still dealing with all this stuff. This movie sheds a light on a culture which was to a large degree born of violence. Its a difficult film - sometimes difficult films are good - great in this case. Expand
  3. Jan 3, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is phenomenal: from the long take, no cutting opening to the incongruity of Ed Harris' car in the small town to Viggo experiencing a rebirth after having killed his brother, to the brilliant and wordless scene that closes the film, this movie is almost virtuoso beyond belief. This film is just about perfect. Expand
  4. AAW
    Oct 4, 2005
    10
    Best movie of the year. Extraordinary. Go now. Do not wait.
  5. Elie
    Oct 1, 2005
    0
    This was the worst movie I have ever seen. The writing was the biggest bunch of hack tripe I have ever heard. I cannot believe even one critic liked this. Don't see this. It will make you angry.
  6. BruceL.
    Oct 28, 2005
    2
    Quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Unfortunately it contains some of my very favorite actors. Goes to show that even great actors can come across as incredibly bad actors with the right script and direction. A real family wouldn't react the way characters in the film acted once they found out the truth about Tom Stall's past. I mean c'mon, Edie had to throw up Quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Unfortunately it contains some of my very favorite actors. Goes to show that even great actors can come across as incredibly bad actors with the right script and direction. A real family wouldn't react the way characters in the film acted once they found out the truth about Tom Stall's past. I mean c'mon, Edie had to throw up in the toilet when she found out. That was not only ridiculous but a bad piece of acting as well. I don't even want to waste anymore words on this extreme disappointment Expand
  7. JoshT.
    Apr 16, 2010
    3
    At one point, Ed Harris says something like "You're trying to hard to be this other guy; it's painful to watch." I think that summed up most of the movie. There's a message there, and it's deep, no doubt, but morals don't need to be this horribly communicated. Utter junk - I can't believe the critical response this received.
  8. KC
    Oct 3, 2005
    6
    The bad acting, unbelievable circumstances, strange soundstage work, and predictable story make this just a watered down Cronenberg flick without anything strange to keep it interesting. Cronenberg's flicks often play out like a series of disjointed events, and this one is no different. Too bad that style doesn't play to this type of movie as it does to the excellent (and The bad acting, unbelievable circumstances, strange soundstage work, and predictable story make this just a watered down Cronenberg flick without anything strange to keep it interesting. Cronenberg's flicks often play out like a series of disjointed events, and this one is no different. Too bad that style doesn't play to this type of movie as it does to the excellent (and disturbing) Dead Ringers. I actually winced at the bad acting in "A History of Violence". Expand
  9. MonicaF
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    Are you guys kiddding? This was a HORRIBLE movie. The plot was horrible, the pace was horrible, the idea was horrible. It was slow and predictable. When we left the theater EVERYONE was saying how bad it was and atleast 15 people got up and walked out DURING the movie. The ONLY saving grace in this movie is William Hurts 5 minutes on screen.. YES 5 MINUTES!!! Do not see this movie.
  10. Adam
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    Just a horrible movie. How could the critics be so wrong on this? How could they almost unanimously support such a horrible movie?
  11. Loreli
    Oct 4, 2005
    10
    Superb movie. Acting is excellent. May catch mainstream audiences, who exclusively want entertainment, off guard. They will find themselves not only entertained but also pondering the movie and its questioning of violence and identify for days afterwards. Cronenberg has taken the age-old themes of the classic genres of the Western and revenge bloodfests and imbued it with a provocative Superb movie. Acting is excellent. May catch mainstream audiences, who exclusively want entertainment, off guard. They will find themselves not only entertained but also pondering the movie and its questioning of violence and identify for days afterwards. Cronenberg has taken the age-old themes of the classic genres of the Western and revenge bloodfests and imbued it with a provocative point of view. Is violence an ugly but necessary means to an end if your intention is noble, or is it always just ugly and self-defeating? Does the moral cost of violence negate its use in all circumstances? Can one ever escape your past no matter how much you have managed to reinvent yourself? Although he has successfully defeated all threats to his idyllic life, has Tom Stall destroyed ultimately destroyed that life in his attempts to keep it? Is he any longer "the best man" his wife has ever known? These are just some of the questions I came away with after viewing the movie, and there aren't too many other films I have seen lately that have done that for me. Expand
  12. RachelH.
    Oct 9, 2005
    8
    Great movie overall. The only thing I really questioned is the ending.....the plot twists were excellent, they kept you wondering the whole way through. Especially good performance by Mortensen.
  13. JeremyK.
    Jan 10, 2006
    3
    It's funny to see how either people absolutely loved or absolutely hated this movie. I, obviously, did not care for it -- and no, I'm not illiterate or oblivious. Yes, I got all the metaphores -- they were only delivered with a lead pipe. For example, he lived a "white bread" life in Millbrook... Millbrook is a brand of white bread. Gee, how clever. Cinematically, I found the It's funny to see how either people absolutely loved or absolutely hated this movie. I, obviously, did not care for it -- and no, I'm not illiterate or oblivious. Yes, I got all the metaphores -- they were only delivered with a lead pipe. For example, he lived a "white bread" life in Millbrook... Millbrook is a brand of white bread. Gee, how clever. Cinematically, I found the lack of background music, while it augmented the slow pace of small town life particularly annoying after awhile. And, can somebody PLEASE explain why, just because some ex-thug knows how to fire a gun he can instantly turn into Bruce Lee when confronted with several well-armed opponents. Think about it... the guy has a teenage son so we can assume he's been flipping burgers in the diner working 14 hour days for at least 10 years. When's the last time you saw Mr. Olympia working at Mel's diner? If they wanted to make the story at least a "little" believable he should have been at least a "little" overweight and out of shape. Finally, with respect to the sex and violence in the movie -- I'm in no way prudish, but I found that neither did much to further the plot. Was it really necessary to show the blown apart skull of one of the victims while he lay twitching on the ground? All in all, I found the movie a HUGE disappointment and I'd be very suprised if this walked away with any major awards come Oscar-time. Expand
  14. AlexE.
    Oct 1, 2005
    10
    You don't realize just how much this movie has affected you until it is over, the credits are rolling, Howard Shore's subtly haunting score is playing softly, and you realize that for the first time in a long time, a movie has caused you to feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable. The final scene in this film is heartbreaking, chilling, and incredibly unsettling. I will You don't realize just how much this movie has affected you until it is over, the credits are rolling, Howard Shore's subtly haunting score is playing softly, and you realize that for the first time in a long time, a movie has caused you to feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable. The final scene in this film is heartbreaking, chilling, and incredibly unsettling. I will not tell you exactly what it contains, but I will say that it is no sort of "twist" ending and it is almost entirely silent. That one scene is enough to put this movie well onto my "Best of 2005" list, but the rest is what really cements its place. Cronenberg plays the audience like a fiddle for an hour and a half, taking our desensitization against violence on film and throwing it in our faces so that we can no longer look away. The experience of watching this in a crowded theater is exhilarating, as it seems the entire audience is sharing something very, very powerful. Great work from Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, William Hurt, and Ed Harris. See this if you have wondered where serious mainstream cinema has been hiding. Expand
  15. MarcR.
    Oct 1, 2005
    5
    I don't get to the theater as much anymore, but when I do I want my precious time, not to mention almost ten bucks a ticket, to be worth it. So I check out what the critics and others are saying and try to give the pros their respect and the benefit of the doubt. But every time I pass up a movie rated poorly for one that is critically acclaimed I wind up sitting there wishing I went I don't get to the theater as much anymore, but when I do I want my precious time, not to mention almost ten bucks a ticket, to be worth it. So I check out what the critics and others are saying and try to give the pros their respect and the benefit of the doubt. But every time I pass up a movie rated poorly for one that is critically acclaimed I wind up sitting there wishing I went to see the movie all the critics panned. This movie was slow, unevenly directed, cinematically washed out, predictable and ultimately not very entertaining. Next time I go to the movies I'm going to skip the due diligence and ignore the critics until after I've seen it. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and get my money's worth. Expand
  16. BradB.
    Oct 17, 2005
    4
    Croenenberg's direction is uneven, slow, and prodding....he gets very little out of his actors, especially the five year old girl. William Hurt was miscast as Joey's "Philly" brother. D - movie from a B list director.
  17. KristinaE.
    Oct 2, 2005
    5
    Bad. Boring. Repetitve. Bland. Unconvincing. Comic book and dramatic script at wrong times. Emotions were toyed with. Very drawn out, contained not much more than an exact replica of the trailer. Funny, to the point W.Hurt = A.
  18. alicew.
    Oct 24, 2005
    9
    one of the best movies i have seen in a long time.
  19. RobT.
    Oct 3, 2005
    5
    The story was not very interesting especially once the plot unfolded. Ed Harris, William Hurt, and Mario Bello did a great job acting; the others were below average probably due to the inconsistency of how their characters developed. Final thought: A disappointing film that was loaded with potential.
  20. JustinT
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    Bad acting, bad dialogue and writing, unsympathetic characters. Inexplicably changes direction and themes halfway through the movie, and the scenes of violence seem randomly punctuated throughout the film. Every predictable plot twist plays out exactly as expected. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenen give especially bad performances, but they may not have had much to work with in the beginning. Bad acting, bad dialogue and writing, unsympathetic characters. Inexplicably changes direction and themes halfway through the movie, and the scenes of violence seem randomly punctuated throughout the film. Every predictable plot twist plays out exactly as expected. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenen give especially bad performances, but they may not have had much to work with in the beginning. The threadbare story was excruciatingly drawn out and uninteresting. The scenes with the high school bully seemed particularily contrived and stale, and the sex scenes definitely don't have the intended effect. And talk about product placement. Expand
  21. MikeG.
    Oct 4, 2005
    9
    From the eerily silent first moments of the film, Cronenberg captures mood and never lets go of it throughout. A History of Violence might have been a mediocre gore fest in the hands of a lesser director, but Cronenberg keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire film and leaves you wondering about not only these characters and this story, but about the world we live in. From the eerily silent first moments of the film, Cronenberg captures mood and never lets go of it throughout. A History of Violence might have been a mediocre gore fest in the hands of a lesser director, but Cronenberg keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire film and leaves you wondering about not only these characters and this story, but about the world we live in. Viggo Mortensen slips marvelously into the lead role, capturing the duality of his life perfectly: there is an anonimity in his character that's delivered adroitly. There are some small holes in the plot, but you won't find yourself thinking about them until long after you leave the theater. William Hurt's performance is a little weird - is his character supposed to be funny? - but this is quibbling. A History of Violence is a movie worth seeing. Expand
  22. Fantasy
    Oct 5, 2005
    1
    There are no words to describe how bad this movie truly is. It starts out in dramatic syle and gets your attention immediately. From there the story unravels before your very eyes with more holes in the story than Carter has little liver pills or Swiss Cheese? But the ending is even lamer than War of the Worlds which I had previously thought was the worst ending ever. The audience filed There are no words to describe how bad this movie truly is. It starts out in dramatic syle and gets your attention immediately. From there the story unravels before your very eyes with more holes in the story than Carter has little liver pills or Swiss Cheese? But the ending is even lamer than War of the Worlds which I had previously thought was the worst ending ever. The audience filed out of the theater shaking our collective heads. Expand
  23. ScottM.
    Oct 6, 2005
    2
    If I ever see another Cronenberg Movie again shoot me please.He really is the most overrated Director ever his films are at best okay.But his choice of poor actors and bad scripts is key to confusing the audience along a really offbeat journey.If you think this is good you best start watching some decent films please this is rubbish of the highest order!
  24. randyw.
    Oct 6, 2005
    9
    A brilliant movie; one that makes the intelligent viewer question the place and role of violence in American society, regardless of circumstance. One can see the master touch of a director whose Canadian viewpoint and perspective on American life reveals much about the dark underside of that society.
  25. LingX.
    Oct 6, 2005
    7
    A walking teapot that boiled and went on a killing spree. that's just about it.
  26. RJSamson
    Oct 7, 2005
    10
    It's a movie about character. If someone else directed it, it may turn commercial. But Cronenberg's style has definitely drawn sincere realism to one of the best movies of the year. Subtle yet strong. What more can I say?
  27. Johnston
    Oct 8, 2005
    0
    This film is so bad it is not even worthy of a score of 1. The first 5 minutes are predictable and from there it disintergrates before your very eyes. It loses all credibility after 30 minutes from which there is no escape. It just becomes more awful by the frame. The ending is so preposterous it is not even worth commenting about. The director needs a reality check? Avoid at all costs.
  28. PhilM
    Oct 9, 2005
    5
    It was OK. Entertaining but not the "great" movie the critics make it out to be. A little predictable and light on substance. More of a renter, don't pay full price to see it.
  29. DeWayneP.
    Sep 25, 2005
    9
    Excellent film. May not be everyone's cup of tea, because it's talks about our relationship to violence and how it reflects who we are as a society. Seeing how seductive our temptations are towards violence and how we use it for sexual fulfilment, revenge, as well as how we decide right (whistle-blower) from wrong (stool pigeon), or is it the other way around? One should Excellent film. May not be everyone's cup of tea, because it's talks about our relationship to violence and how it reflects who we are as a society. Seeing how seductive our temptations are towards violence and how we use it for sexual fulfilment, revenge, as well as how we decide right (whistle-blower) from wrong (stool pigeon), or is it the other way around? One should approach this film not as an entertaining enterprise i.e. a Mel Gibson film, but as a film to give us pause and reflection as to who we are and have been. And it's okay, we can be reflective and critical and still be American...really...It's only a movie. Expand
  30. ChadB
    Jan 4, 2006
    2
    TERRIBLE. I'm not usually bothered by violence in movies, but this was just random extreme violence and uncomfortable sex scenes. I was about to walk out and ask for my money back when the movie inexplicably ended.
  31. SebaD.
    Feb 1, 2006
    7
    well done Maria Bello, beautiful performance you did. Now tell me if there s someone who really believe that Mortenesen was like "the carmelita descalza"?
  32. Jared
    Feb 20, 2006
    10
    I'm sorry, if you think this movie is predictable and boring, then you weren't watching the same movie as I was. What I saw was a brilliant, haunting, shocking portrayal of the American Dream being ripped apart by violence and lies, leaving behind the ugly truth that can seeth beneath such "perfect" families. The belief that we can run from who we are and change without regard I'm sorry, if you think this movie is predictable and boring, then you weren't watching the same movie as I was. What I saw was a brilliant, haunting, shocking portrayal of the American Dream being ripped apart by violence and lies, leaving behind the ugly truth that can seeth beneath such "perfect" families. The belief that we can run from who we are and change without regard for our past is brutally ripped apart. What we are left with is a family who has to pick up the pieces and try to deal with the horrible truth revealed to them. Expand
  33. RadCompanyDotNet
    Feb 7, 2006
    3
    A thinnly veiled action flick dressed up as a hypocritical P.S.A. I am so tired of this phony intellectualism seeping into movies lately (Capote). Cronenberg is a good director, but the script is garbage. And don't EVEN tell me I just didn't "get it". Stop patting yourself on the back for understanding a movie a tween could comprehend. There are issues in eXistenZ that are farA thinnly veiled action flick dressed up as a hypocritical P.S.A. I am so tired of this phony intellectualism seeping into movies lately (Capote). Cronenberg is a good director, but the script is garbage. And don't EVEN tell me I just didn't "get it". Stop patting yourself on the back for understanding a movie a tween could comprehend. There are issues in eXistenZ that are far more engaging. Expand
  34. JoeyT.
    Mar 20, 2006
    6
    Because of the rave reviews by the critics I was expecting more. The movie is entertaining but had little to offer in the way of story. The acting is good but you won't be moved by any of the performances. All in all I was midly dissapointed.
  35. IsabelC.
    Mar 20, 2006
    3
    I've seen worse so I can't give this film anything lower than a 3, but wow, what a disappointment. And I'm seeing the same comments from other reviewers - how could the professional reviewers have possibly liked this? It's actually a very silly and childish movie, filled with plot holes. Whoever wrote this understands nothing about psychology as the characters I've seen worse so I can't give this film anything lower than a 3, but wow, what a disappointment. And I'm seeing the same comments from other reviewers - how could the professional reviewers have possibly liked this? It's actually a very silly and childish movie, filled with plot holes. Whoever wrote this understands nothing about psychology as the characters reactions to events were preposterous. Parts of it were actually quite embarrassing. Not good. Expand
  36. Joel
    Mar 9, 2006
    1
    Bad acting, bad writing. Nothing thrilling, no big plot twist to be had, just random violence and unneccessary, uncomfortable sex scenes. Horrible.
  37. IanK.
    Apr 2, 2006
    1
    I promise, I am not exaggarating when I give this a rating of 1. I should actually give it a 0 because I believe it may possible be one of the worst movies I have -ever- seen (including TV movies), but I gave it a 1 figuring some people may appreciate the soft-core p orn and brief moments of violence. The action in this movie was sooo slow and more comical than intense. I rented this I promise, I am not exaggarating when I give this a rating of 1. I should actually give it a 0 because I believe it may possible be one of the worst movies I have -ever- seen (including TV movies), but I gave it a 1 figuring some people may appreciate the soft-core p orn and brief moments of violence. The action in this movie was sooo slow and more comical than intense. I rented this based upon the Critic Review rating on this site, and I am now convinced the Critics were paid off (and that more money went to the Critics than the budget). The only reason I even sat through more than half this movie was because I was expecting it to get better, or waiting for some incredible twist at the end to fulfill the Critic Rating. I'm being serious. If you don't believe me, watch this. Horrible acting, horrible directing, the most generic cliche script, slow, and the situations were impossible to believe in. Even the sets were impossible to believe, nothing felt or looked remotely real enough to engage in the movie. I encourage anyone to watch the movie if they want to see just how poor the critic rating can be on this website. Expand
  38. Sam
    Apr 7, 2006
    9
    I thought this movie was excellently acted, directed and shot. Sure, if you just want mindless violence or cheap gags then steer clear. But if you're prepared to actually invest yourself in and engage with a film, pay attention off your own back instead of expecting it to do all the work for you then you'll find some amazing themes and thought-provoking angles. There are violent I thought this movie was excellently acted, directed and shot. Sure, if you just want mindless violence or cheap gags then steer clear. But if you're prepared to actually invest yourself in and engage with a film, pay attention off your own back instead of expecting it to do all the work for you then you'll find some amazing themes and thought-provoking angles. There are violent scenes in the film, but they serve a purpose rather than being arbitrary or superfluous, like in so many films. Expand
  39. JonD.
    May 6, 2006
    8
    This movie was really really good. It was very different which is probably why so many people give it such a low rating. its either a love it or hate it movie. Let me say one thing GRAPHIC NOVEL. The violence is over the top because of this have you seen other graphic novel movies? Sin City perhaps or maybe Road To Perdistion ... the violence is over the top for a reason. That is why some This movie was really really good. It was very different which is probably why so many people give it such a low rating. its either a love it or hate it movie. Let me say one thing GRAPHIC NOVEL. The violence is over the top because of this have you seen other graphic novel movies? Sin City perhaps or maybe Road To Perdistion ... the violence is over the top for a reason. That is why some people dont understand it, because they dont know that its a graphic novel. The story is a little different as well and it probly wouldnt happen in real life but its not supposed to. Overall a very well done movie and most people will either love it or hate it. Expand
  40. MichaelK.
    Jun 10, 2006
    10
    From what I understand, this movie was based on a graphic novel so it definitely has that comic book feel. Watch with an open mind and don't search for holes and you'll enjoy the film. I found myself caring about each character and at times I found the movie very tense. Be warned, both the sex and the violence are at 100%.
  41. AaronS.
    Jul 24, 2006
    0
    You've got to be kidding. This is a dopey, unrealistic, wooden movie that thinks showing a few scalps blowing off makes it a dangerous, deep look at violence. That scene on the stairs or in the locker room. If you thought that was an insight into the human condition, or even marginal acting, you should stick to Scary Movie.
  42. PatT.
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    I am generally appalled by the gratuitous violence of so many films these days, yet still I found myself drawn to the flawed protagonist. In spite of its brute force, this is a nuanced movie, with scenes of extreme violence juxtaposed with domestic scenes of calm beauty. Even the brass score adds energy and tension, and the ending was a nice touch as well, with its lack of resolution but I am generally appalled by the gratuitous violence of so many films these days, yet still I found myself drawn to the flawed protagonist. In spite of its brute force, this is a nuanced movie, with scenes of extreme violence juxtaposed with domestic scenes of calm beauty. Even the brass score adds energy and tension, and the ending was a nice touch as well, with its lack of resolution but hint of hope. Ultimately, this film appeals to that very basic human satisfaction of seeing the bullies, mobsters, and thrill killers of the world get their due at the hands of the underdog. Expand
  43. SP.
    Jun 8, 2007
    0
    A History of Violence is, no holds barred, the worst movie I have ever seen. Every part of the movie (writing, directing, producing, camera angles, acting) appeared to have been fulfilled by the equivalent of a high school student attempting to complete his end-of-the-semester project the night before it was due. Case in point: The horrendous cheerleader love scene. Whoever wrote that A History of Violence is, no holds barred, the worst movie I have ever seen. Every part of the movie (writing, directing, producing, camera angles, acting) appeared to have been fulfilled by the equivalent of a high school student attempting to complete his end-of-the-semester project the night before it was due. Case in point: The horrendous cheerleader love scene. Whoever wrote that part of the script can feel slightly less bad about his lack of talent by comparing himself to the lumpen who shot the scene. Expand
  44. jaymorris
    Apr 16, 2008
    10
    The best film of the year, hands down. David Cronenberg's enthralling meditation on violence, and the duality of man's nature and his capacity to change, recalls Anthony Mann's Bend of the River. Mr. Cronenberg has found his James Stewart in Viggo Mortensen; his performance is absolutely mesmerizing. One hopes that this masterpiece launches more teamings of this supremelyThe best film of the year, hands down. David Cronenberg's enthralling meditation on violence, and the duality of man's nature and his capacity to change, recalls Anthony Mann's Bend of the River. Mr. Cronenberg has found his James Stewart in Viggo Mortensen; his performance is absolutely mesmerizing. One hopes that this masterpiece launches more teamings of this supremely accomplished director and his new leading man. Expand
  45. DavidS.
    Feb 15, 2010
    2
    This was hilarious. but that's not necessarily good. the final scene had me in tears almost. the highschool son subplot was so incredibly over the top. it was like leave it to beaver. oh man, and the gratuitous dress-up cheerleader sex at the beginning. classic. reviewers are bought and sold man. i can't believe this. seriously, only watch this movie if you just got some dank.
  46. SeamusS
    Nov 15, 2005
    10
    Brilliant, One of cronenburgs best.
  47. BitBurn
    Oct 11, 2005
    9
    That one really caught me by surprise. Very intense, raw. Awesome screenplay. Perhaps not for everyone but I loved it.
  48. megw.
    Oct 10, 2005
    8
    Liked it rather a lot, almost strangely so. Saw it last night and still musing on it. Very violent bloodshed interspersed with serious erotic moments, gorey but not mindlessly so. A couple of laughs, but definitely not a comedy-no idea where people got that impression- and not one to take the kids to, least not smallish kids, older teens maybe, if you're comfortable with them viewing Liked it rather a lot, almost strangely so. Saw it last night and still musing on it. Very violent bloodshed interspersed with serious erotic moments, gorey but not mindlessly so. A couple of laughs, but definitely not a comedy-no idea where people got that impression- and not one to take the kids to, least not smallish kids, older teens maybe, if you're comfortable with them viewing blood and sex. Not terribly predictable, enough twists and turns, done without beating one over the head with some moral perspective, which is refreshing. Worthwhile, different, not for the squeamish or easily offended. Expand
  49. SuzieH.
    Nov 1, 2005
    9
    Loved it! Very graphic violence & sex.
  50. JerrryS.
    Oct 1, 2005
    2
    The movie was done halfway thru and it kept going on. They add a main charater with no background near the end just to kill him. What was with the last scene where the passed the meatloaf and then it ends. Just like meatloaf, this movie was plain and a was of a meal. Not even worth a DVD rental.
  51. JayM.
    Oct 1, 2005
    9
    Cronenberg's most complete and successful film to date, fabulous performances by the whole cast, wow wauw! So not a Hollywood production, this is a @#$! real movie!
  52. DannW.
    Oct 1, 2005
    2
    I am absolutely stunned that people love this movie. The film is resoundingly terrible from the first scene in which the family speaks dialog that is laughable with pacing which is excruciating. Both child actors are so bad they are hard to watch. On exiting from the theater, I heard another patron say, "This is a whole new breed of terrible movie," and I agree. Both Viggo and Bello are I am absolutely stunned that people love this movie. The film is resoundingly terrible from the first scene in which the family speaks dialog that is laughable with pacing which is excruciating. Both child actors are so bad they are hard to watch. On exiting from the theater, I heard another patron say, "This is a whole new breed of terrible movie," and I agree. Both Viggo and Bello are good enough actors that they are able to give some credibility to their unspeakable dialog, but they cannot save this film. The pacing is slow, the "suspense" is tedious, and there is nothing "deep" to be had. Expand
  53. leah
    Nov 20, 2005
    10
    One of the best movies of the year, so darkly funny that i found myself to be the only one in the theater laughing! Cronenburg has not dropped the ball yet in his lengthy career.
  54. Jonzi
    Oct 12, 2005
    8
    To appreciate this movie you must view it as part of the revisionist western genre like Peckipah or the "urban revenge" movies like Dirty Harry. Lacking in humanity, cold and certainly doing nothing for Cronenbergs feminism credentials - I loved it!
  55. MarkB.
    Oct 15, 2005
    7
    Despite the cold, clinical feel that David Cronenberg often brings to his horror and other films (and a similar reputation that he seems to enjoy cultivating in print), his best work includes a large dose of humanity to drive home his rather morose scientific themes and obsessions in ways that his more distanced work (Dead Ringers, eXistenZ, Spider) can't always do no matter how Despite the cold, clinical feel that David Cronenberg often brings to his horror and other films (and a similar reputation that he seems to enjoy cultivating in print), his best work includes a large dose of humanity to drive home his rather morose scientific themes and obsessions in ways that his more distanced work (Dead Ringers, eXistenZ, Spider) can't always do no matter how creepily fascinating or technically accomplished it may be. His adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone has as much loss, poignancy and heartbreak as any movie made in the last 25 years; his all-time masterpiece The Fly wouldn't be nearly so resonant if it weren't as much a tragic romance as a gross-out horror classic. Not surprisingly, these two were his biggest box-office hits ever, and A History of Violence, which effectively jettisons the supernatural or science fiction elements while still dealing with many of Cronenberg's pet concerns, looks to join them. Small town family man and business owner Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) gets into more than he expected when he violently but understandably derails an attempt to rob his diner; nationwide notoriety, reporters and gangsters appear to threaten his perfect family life and maybe expose some less-than-savory truths that he'd vastly prefer remain submerged. (It's tough to discuss a film like this without tiptoeing into spoiler territory; on the other hand, if you've seen the trailer, you can probably guess the difference between a potential full-length movie and a 15-minute short subject.) Much of Cronenberg's previous work has dealt with, as a major theme or a subplot, parasitic invasive physical or mental forces that take over, dominate and often destroy their hosts; in Tom's case, said unwelcome elements could have been there all along, which is why I was less moved by his situation than that of his gentle, sensitive high-school son Jack (affectingly played by Ashton Holmes), who may or may not have inherited certain violent tendencies that he neither chose nor wants to have. Despite gripping (and often funny) supporting performances from Ed Harris, William Hurt, Maria Bello as Tom's wife (three cheers and an 'amen' for actresses who don't place any limitations on the sexual demands of the scripts they want to do!) and especially Mortensen himself, in a fascinating, career-redefining, coiled-spring performance that lends real ambiguity and danger to even the movie's early scenes, this effort is perhaps too linear and straightforward to fully engage Cronenberg's most devoted followers or to inspire repeat viewings as readily as his best mainstream work. But there's still plenty to absorb, appreciate and admire, although I have a feeling that the biggest discussion and debate--both among the film's surviving principal characters AND its audience--will inevitably occur after the closing credits have rolled. And it's impossible for me NOT to respect a film that questions the basic ethos of the action-film resumes of Charles Bronson, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and pre-1980 Clint Eastwood by asking whether the so-called heroes of these films prevail because they have the forces of good and right on their side--or maybe because they're just a little bit better and more skillful at marshalling the forces of bad and wrong? Expand
  56. ElaineM.
    Oct 15, 2005
    3
    The dialogue was so awful I was embarrassed for the actors. Mortenson gives a good performance, given what he had to work with, and Hurt is great. All in all, a huge disappointment. How the movie critics do fawn over Cronenberg!
  57. DudD
    Oct 15, 2005
    1
    People in the movie burst out with laughter at the supposedly dramatic points of the movie. Contrarily, I wanted to burst out with rage at the stupidity of the movie. A real flop.
  58. NicM
    Oct 10, 2005
    3
    I am not quite sure why this is getting such strong reviews. The film is very cliche and despite Viggo's amazing performance, I found the script to be flat. The critic's are getting shabby lately.
  59. mitchellm
    Oct 18, 2005
    10
    Wow, these last low reveiws show us how people don't know what a goood movie is, they'd rather see something like "the fog" or some nonesense like that. and say its " the best movie ever!", thes people need to be shown what a real masterpeice looks like, and this is one of them.
  60. MikeD
    Oct 10, 2005
    2
    I was a big believer in the metacritic system before this. I can't understand how it gained an 80+_rating - truly a horrible movie and a waste of some good acting talent. The movie went in 10 different directions but didn't bother do any of them the justice they deserved - like a bunch of non-connected post-it notes on a director's refrigerator. Most disappointing (and I was a big believer in the metacritic system before this. I can't understand how it gained an 80+_rating - truly a horrible movie and a waste of some good acting talent. The movie went in 10 different directions but didn't bother do any of them the justice they deserved - like a bunch of non-connected post-it notes on a director's refrigerator. Most disappointing (and disappointed). Expand
  61. rostokova
    Oct 10, 2005
    5
    A History of Violence is a simple film whos deadpan delivery, extreme violence and sexual aggression have elevated its critical status. The setup is simple and tailored to character development rather than narrative revelation, yet little depth in character is accrued during the film's course. Despite a fine performance by Viggo Mortensen, the script is far too spare in its treatment A History of Violence is a simple film whos deadpan delivery, extreme violence and sexual aggression have elevated its critical status. The setup is simple and tailored to character development rather than narrative revelation, yet little depth in character is accrued during the film's course. Despite a fine performance by Viggo Mortensen, the script is far too spare in its treatment of his character, and lacks the psychogical tension and unease of Cronenberg's excellent Dead Ringers. The central implication that man can't change his nature, only suppress it, is explored superficially and mostly for gratification. Equally the ending's suggestion that violence may often be integral to the creation of the American dream is certainly subversive, but warrants further examination, rather than genre neatness. Blue Velvet also showed there was something dark beyond the picket fence; but it was assured, poetic and contained a subconscious as well as visceral threat. In comparison 'History' seems slight and hollow, its deadpan, off-beat delivery just a distraction from its vacuity. Expand
  62. LibbyF.
    Oct 10, 2005
    3
    Extremely disappointing after all the hype and great reviews I've read/heard. The pace, which could have been artfully slow, was painfully slow, when we knew exactly what was coming. Just get on with it, already. Viggo and Bello did their best with the stilted dialogue, but William Hurt was laughably unauthentic in his role. Thank god it was short lived. There were so many Extremely disappointing after all the hype and great reviews I've read/heard. The pace, which could have been artfully slow, was painfully slow, when we knew exactly what was coming. Just get on with it, already. Viggo and Bello did their best with the stilted dialogue, but William Hurt was laughably unauthentic in his role. Thank god it was short lived. There were so many inconsistencies and holes in the story I lost track. Nice try, but this one could have been done much better. Expand
  63. ChadS.
    Oct 20, 2005
    9
    I'll be the cheerleader, and next time, you be the man with a violent past. That scene on the stairwell is interesting because we've already seen the couple engage in role-playing when they have sex. Edie (Maria Bello) is like the Lorraine Bracco character in "Good Fellas" who admits to being turned-on when Henry (Ray Liotta) tells her to hide the gun. There's a darkness in I'll be the cheerleader, and next time, you be the man with a violent past. That scene on the stairwell is interesting because we've already seen the couple engage in role-playing when they have sex. Edie (Maria Bello) is like the Lorraine Bracco character in "Good Fellas" who admits to being turned-on when Henry (Ray Liotta) tells her to hide the gun. There's a darkness in Edie, too. If there's a flaw to "A History of Violence", it's the violence inflicted by Tom (Viggo Mortensen) on his victims because the rest of the film belies any graphic novel connection. Like fellow indie-director Richard Linklater, David Cronenberg mainstreams himself with dignity and class. Expand
  64. ChrisC.
    Oct 2, 2005
    3
    I'm a big fan of Viggo Mortensen & Ed Harris, but I thought this movie stunk big-time. I too am amazed it's getting great reviews. I'm usually a very forgiving movie goer, but this one literally had me shaking my head several times. I feel the acting was sub-par by the minor characters, like the town cop (I've seen soaps with better acting). And the dialog was so I'm a big fan of Viggo Mortensen & Ed Harris, but I thought this movie stunk big-time. I too am amazed it's getting great reviews. I'm usually a very forgiving movie goer, but this one literally had me shaking my head several times. I feel the acting was sub-par by the minor characters, like the town cop (I've seen soaps with better acting). And the dialog was so contrived & stiff. It sounded rehearsed. Plus, the worst part was the family reaction to the big secret. They loved their father dearly, then they turned on him (on a dime)? C'mon, now. He saved their lives, and he's been a loving husband for over 15 years. This is simply retarded. Expand
  65. GlenF
    Oct 2, 2005
    6
    The violence is fun but the acting is laughable at times. Very surprised at the praise this movie recieved. It's also very predictable.
  66. MarkC.
    Oct 22, 2005
    0
    I want my money and time back. The acting was beyond wooden, the story was pointless, and the writing was horrible. The people who think this movie is great are the ones who think that's what the "cool" people are saying.
  67. TrevorCotton
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    A History Of Violence works on so many levels with such convincing acting and a riveting story. Believe the hype this is one of the years best films!
  68. CraigA.
    Oct 24, 2005
    1
    This just wasn't a very good movie. Graphic violence and inappropriate sex scenes aside, this could just be any run of the mill television movie of the week. There really isn't much going on here. And who had the bizarre idea to cast William Hurt as a tough gangster? I understood this movie a little better when I read that it had been based on a cmic book. That really helps to This just wasn't a very good movie. Graphic violence and inappropriate sex scenes aside, this could just be any run of the mill television movie of the week. There really isn't much going on here. And who had the bizarre idea to cast William Hurt as a tough gangster? I understood this movie a little better when I read that it had been based on a cmic book. That really helps to explain the one-dimensional characters, the contrived plot, and misogyny. Expand
  69. RamonaC
    Oct 25, 2005
    1
    Starts out sensational and self destructs. Overrated and overhyped trailer trash of a movie. Avoid.
  70. RichardC
    Oct 29, 2005
    0
    Terrible. Random sex scenes and enough violence to make Sin City look like Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood combine to make the most pointless and disturbing movie I've ever seen.
  71. TimD.
    Oct 31, 2005
    9
    I'm not generally a fan of Cronenberg's stuff. And I'm not generally a fan of film critics. I'm with them on this one, though -- I thought it was excellent,disquieting, staying with me afterward in a way many movies do not. And I find the number and vehemence of the negative viewer reviews here to be genuinely interesting. Ah, well. To each their own.
  72. TerryD.
    Oct 3, 2005
    10
    Wow. What a thought-provoking, disturbing movie. You'll be thinking about this one long after you leave the theater, which is a good thing. Wow again.
  73. russw.
    Oct 3, 2005
    8
    Gripping at times, very entertaining.
  74. MorganM.
    Oct 3, 2005
    0
    This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. In a movie every scene is supposed to relate to either the end or the charactor or a turning point to either the postive or nagative. To have sex scenes with none of the above criteria is at less bad writing and is more then likly titlation(SP) for it's own sake. Unfortuneatly, even sex for sex sakes they don't manage to do well. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. In a movie every scene is supposed to relate to either the end or the charactor or a turning point to either the postive or nagative. To have sex scenes with none of the above criteria is at less bad writing and is more then likly titlation(SP) for it's own sake. Unfortuneatly, even sex for sex sakes they don't manage to do well. Mortensen and Bello are just not attractive. Expand
  75. LisaR.
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    Graphic violence and nudity thrown in to distract the viewers from a predictable movie headed towards stupidity as soon as Stall runs (hobbles) home to protect his family. Just plain stupid. The only worth-watching part was when William Hurt entered the picture. Amazing how many people claim it's the best picture of the year. Tell me what's it like living with the mentality of a Graphic violence and nudity thrown in to distract the viewers from a predictable movie headed towards stupidity as soon as Stall runs (hobbles) home to protect his family. Just plain stupid. The only worth-watching part was when William Hurt entered the picture. Amazing how many people claim it's the best picture of the year. Tell me what's it like living with the mentality of a character in THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES? Learn to open your eyes and think for yourselves. Expand
  76. BettyW.
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    This was a really bad movie, do not even waste your money to rent it.
  77. OwenD
    Oct 3, 2005
    1
    This movie has replaced Alexander the Great as the worst movie I've ever seen. Poor acting, poor directing, and poor photography. After reading all of these glowing reviews, I persuaded some of my friends to see this movie with me. Now I'm contimplating suing my city's newspaper for recommending this film. I've suffered inrreconsilabe damages, for the loss of my two This movie has replaced Alexander the Great as the worst movie I've ever seen. Poor acting, poor directing, and poor photography. After reading all of these glowing reviews, I persuaded some of my friends to see this movie with me. Now I'm contimplating suing my city's newspaper for recommending this film. I've suffered inrreconsilabe damages, for the loss of my two hours that I will never get back. BAD MOVIE!!! Expand
  78. PeterG
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    I agree with Chuck 76, except that I think it wasn't even worth a 6. Pointless story, dragging pace (96 minutes felt like 180), gratuitous violence (that just didn't WORK), sex scenes that lent almost nothing to the story (and could have been cut by about 90%), amateurish plot twists, wretched character development, completely expected and uninspired opening. Not even good (not I agree with Chuck 76, except that I think it wasn't even worth a 6. Pointless story, dragging pace (96 minutes felt like 180), gratuitous violence (that just didn't WORK), sex scenes that lent almost nothing to the story (and could have been cut by about 90%), amateurish plot twists, wretched character development, completely expected and uninspired opening. Not even good (not great, but reasonable) performances by Mortenson, Bello, and Harris are worth much. William Hurt is utterly laughable. The children are utterly forgettable. The villains are utterly ridiculous. And before you say "You just didn't get it", I had no trouble enjoying Sin City (which was chalked full of violence) or "getting" something like Requiem for a Dream (which dealt with a weighty subject much more intelligently). A History of Violence is disgusting not for its treatment and demonstration of violence, but for its offense to the senses and sensibilities of its audience. I couldn't wait for this to be over. Expand
  79. SteveN.
    Oct 3, 2005
    3
    Action scenes were very good, sex scenes were laughable, entire audience was booing at the end.
  80. RachelI.
    Oct 4, 2005
    2
    There's no denying it: this movie's bad. A completely unsubtle, predictable piece of trash. Acting so bad it hurts. An action-drama with training wheels.
  81. ChaninderB.
    Oct 4, 2005
    10
    Awsome...captivating, and so well done. Cronenberg is the man.
  82. Gnarles
    Oct 4, 2005
    10
    Igonore the idiots on here - this is the real deal, folks.
  83. Mark
    Oct 4, 2005
    1
    This movie was perhaps one of the worst movies I have seen to date. I have no idea what the critics were thinking when they rated this movie well. I guess if one can accept that everyone in this movie was incredibly irrational and made unrealistic decisions then perhaps it could be enjoyed. That is only if one can look past the disturbingly violent sex scene, the B-movie killings and the This movie was perhaps one of the worst movies I have seen to date. I have no idea what the critics were thinking when they rated this movie well. I guess if one can accept that everyone in this movie was incredibly irrational and made unrealistic decisions then perhaps it could be enjoyed. That is only if one can look past the disturbingly violent sex scene, the B-movie killings and the sub par acting (exepct William Hurt). I walked away from this movie hating Viggo Mortensen. Expand
  84. JohnS
    Oct 5, 2005
    5
    I have come to trust the MetaCritic Ratings as amazingly reliable. But I have to say that this movie, while entertaining, was flawed on so many levels. The formula that it was trying to achieve was very transparent, but it only occasionally succeed at making it work. Watch it from the perspective of the relationships. Few of them had any authenticity to them at all. Watch it from the I have come to trust the MetaCritic Ratings as amazingly reliable. But I have to say that this movie, while entertaining, was flawed on so many levels. The formula that it was trying to achieve was very transparent, but it only occasionally succeed at making it work. Watch it from the perspective of the relationships. Few of them had any authenticity to them at all. Watch it from the perspective of logic, a guy who has committed himself to a new life is not going to put his life in danger like that. The movie almost counts on viewers assuming that people actually think and act like they do on TV to make it work. Well crafted, but hollow and contrived. Expand
  85. ErikB.
    Oct 6, 2005
    4
    Awesome violent action scenes. Crap downtimes. I love how we spent 10 minutes at the beginning getting to know the bad guys who got killed in about 15 seconds.
  86. LoriK.
    Oct 6, 2005
    1
    This was quite possibly the worst movie ever made - no character development, no plot, terrible - disappointing - acting, horrible script, and basically no point. I laughed all the way through this ridiculous film and I don't think it was supposed to be a comedy...ooops. The only parts that were not difficult to sit through were the fight scenes and the graphics.
  87. JuniorB.
    Oct 7, 2005
    0
    I subscribe to the KISS principal so I'll keep this quite brief.....THIS MOVIE SUCKS!!!! Read all of the other comments that trash this flick and there is no more to be said.
  88. SriV.
    Oct 8, 2005
    0
    This is among the worst movies I've ever seen. It is basically composed of a few scenes of graphic violence + some scenes of sex + lots of garbage. I don't know how it got such high ratings here.
  89. JesseJ.
    Oct 8, 2005
    0
    The only thing "beautiful" about this movie, is that I will never, ever have to see it again.
  90. MichelleS.
    Oct 8, 2005
    3
    The screenplay is inauthentic and the acting is laughable. The movie stinks.
  91. HollisH.
    Oct 8, 2005
    0
    This was absolutely dreadful. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that I would consider this horrid in a long, long time, especially one that I saw in the theater. This movie was laughable with it's half-boiled drama and silly writing. There was no point to the ending violent spree, it didn't propel the narrative forward whatsoever. If you want to see Viggo This was absolutely dreadful. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that I would consider this horrid in a long, long time, especially one that I saw in the theater. This movie was laughable with it's half-boiled drama and silly writing. There was no point to the ending violent spree, it didn't propel the narrative forward whatsoever. If you want to see Viggo at his best, you MUST see The Indian Runner, but stay far away from this drivel. Expand
  92. walterc.
    Oct 8, 2005
    4
    Film had great potential for the first 1/2, but got sappy afer that including a number of unnintended laughs from the audience. Some great acting out of Hurt and Harris, but not enough to bouy the rest of the film.
  93. MondoQuantS.
    Oct 9, 2005
    10
    A Masterpiece, but not for everybody. Those familiar with violence and the psychology will see much beneath the surface. Many before/after themes run through this film, leaving you to think days afterwards. The before/after sexual scenes between Tom and his wife are telling. The final scene of the family at the dinner table, trapped in the realization they are changed, never to be the A Masterpiece, but not for everybody. Those familiar with violence and the psychology will see much beneath the surface. Many before/after themes run through this film, leaving you to think days afterwards. The before/after sexual scenes between Tom and his wife are telling. The final scene of the family at the dinner table, trapped in the realization they are changed, never to be the same - no other good option - is haunting. Expand
  94. BoydP
    Oct 9, 2005
    9
    A stunning and unsettling story of violence and how it affects and upsets the status quo. This is basically a character piece, which may be surprising to those expecting an action film. The violence is quick and brutal, the sex is raw and revealing, and the comedy is very dark. If you think the violence is the only interesting aspect of the film, perhaps that says more about you than it A stunning and unsettling story of violence and how it affects and upsets the status quo. This is basically a character piece, which may be surprising to those expecting an action film. The violence is quick and brutal, the sex is raw and revealing, and the comedy is very dark. If you think the violence is the only interesting aspect of the film, perhaps that says more about you than it does about the movie. Which, I think, is exactly the point the movie is making. Expand
  95. Jane
    Oct 9, 2005
    0
    In a word - Awful!
  96. JackM.
    Oct 9, 2005
    3
    Okay script but very weak directing that seemed downright amateurish at times. This is definitely a case of "The Emperor's New Clothes."
  97. Aaron
    Sep 23, 2005
    10
    "A History Of Violence" is something of a masterpiece and just about the best film Cronenberg has ever made. To reveal anything more would do the film a disservice. So far, it's the best picture of 2005 and something really spectacular will have to come out to displace it as such for me.
  98. NormG.
    Sep 24, 2005
    9
    The backdrop of History of Violence is a small quiet Indiana town and family. So when the Violence comes the contrast is sharp and startling. You just don't know what is lurking below the surface. Though the story is predictable, the direction and performances keeps it from degenerating into tired gratuitous action-movie clichés. The scene that ends the film at first left me The backdrop of History of Violence is a small quiet Indiana town and family. So when the Violence comes the contrast is sharp and startling. You just don't know what is lurking below the surface. Though the story is predictable, the direction and performances keeps it from degenerating into tired gratuitous action-movie clichés. The scene that ends the film at first left me puzzled then it chilled and soon became almost redemptive. You won't know what hit you. Expand
  99. ChristinaV.
    Sep 27, 2005
    10
    There is not one wasted moment in this superb film.
  100. Chuck76
    Sep 27, 2005
    6
    I'm really surprised at the ratings this film is getting, I thought the acting was terrible at times and the plot as thin a cigarette paper. One of thoses movies you'll look back on and think "it wasn't that good actually". Very average.
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 90
    Cronenberg holds up a mirror, but he leaves it up to us to recoil at what we see.
  2. Clever and fast-paced thriller.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Lack of depth, complexity or strangeness make this a relatively routine entry for the director.