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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 651 Ratings

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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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!
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. RamonaC
    Oct 25, 2005
    1
    Starts out sensational and self destructs. Overrated and overhyped trailer trash of a movie. Avoid.
  31. 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.
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. BettyW.
    Oct 3, 2005
    2
    This was a really bad movie, do not even waste your money to rent it.
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. SteveN.
    Oct 3, 2005
    3
    Action scenes were very good, sex scenes were laughable, entire audience was booing at the end.
  38. 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.
  39. 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
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. JesseJ.
    Oct 8, 2005
    0
    The only thing "beautiful" about this movie, is that I will never, ever have to see it again.
  45. MichelleS.
    Oct 8, 2005
    3
    The screenplay is inauthentic and the acting is laughable. The movie stinks.
  46. 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
  47. 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.
  48. Jane
    Oct 9, 2005
    0
    In a word - Awful!
  49. 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."
  50. Darkmage
    Jan 13, 2006
    4
    This movie is actually quite good. The reason for my low rating is the critical acclaim that the movie is receiving. I'm sorry -- everyone is asking what caused the Hollywood slump in 2006 -- maybe it is because a movie such as this one is touted as having such a ingenuis plot. A grade 5 student could have come up with this storyline! If this is what the critics think is a A-1 movie, This movie is actually quite good. The reason for my low rating is the critical acclaim that the movie is receiving. I'm sorry -- everyone is asking what caused the Hollywood slump in 2006 -- maybe it is because a movie such as this one is touted as having such a ingenuis plot. A grade 5 student could have come up with this storyline! If this is what the critics think is a A-1 movie, you have your answer as to the sorry state of the movie industry. Expand
  51. KevinK.
    Jan 3, 2006
    1
    This movie was a complete joke. I saw it because it got good reviews and the trailer seemed thrilling. Oh was I surprised, not with a killer plot and precise dialogue, rather with laughable violence, raunchy nudity, and foreshadowing so bold that a blind person could see it. Don't even rent this movie. Your time's better spent reading a good book.
  52. JamesB.
    Mar 10, 2006
    4
    Awful Rendition Of A Awesome Graphic Novel, The Only Thing I Liked About This Movie Was The No Holds Barred Violence That Ensues. Other Than That Don't Waste Your Time With This Movie Read The Book Instead.
  53. molotov
    Mar 15, 2006
    2
    The great trailer and critics' raves made this a must-see. But, in reality, it just ain't so. Badly written; badly directed. There's just no depth to the thing, resulting in an incredibly empty viewing experience. Almost laughably bad.
  54. c4logicC.
    Mar 19, 2006
    2
    The problem with this movie is that it is a comic book. The story is completely contrived. I can hear the hollywood pitch in 25 words or less. It hinges on a central improbable conceit, that someone who grew up in a dog eat dog culture can remake himself into his exact opposite. I just can't suspend my disbelief. Tom's skills are not the skills of Mob muscle, they are the skills The problem with this movie is that it is a comic book. The story is completely contrived. I can hear the hollywood pitch in 25 words or less. It hinges on a central improbable conceit, that someone who grew up in a dog eat dog culture can remake himself into his exact opposite. I just can't suspend my disbelief. Tom's skills are not the skills of Mob muscle, they are the skills of black ops, commandos, special forces, ninjas. The whole thing is an ill-conceived adolescent fantasy. I don't know what the critics were thinking! Collapse
  55. MikeP.
    Mar 19, 2006
    1
    The only "history" worth noting in this overrated, almost unbearable film is the 1 hour and forty minutes of mine I wasted watching it.
  56. PhengY.
    Apr 21, 2006
    0
    Truly repulsive and inane. My little brother can produce and direct a better movie of the same name if it were a contest. Am I missing something that the critics are seeing.
  57. MarkP.
    Apr 23, 2006
    4
    I too am astonished at how well this movie was received by critics, especially since I typically favour critical darlings. Moreover, I am astonished that many user comments found herein have unreservedly proclaimed this movie a "masterpiece." Frankly, to those of you who have accused the individuals who responded poorly to this movie as
  58. BradK.
    Apr 3, 2006
    3
    Awful acting. Trite story. Awkward script. The only redeeming factor is the visceral thrill of the violence, which only takes you so far. I have never disagreed more with the critics than on this one. The dialogue between the high school students deserves special mention for its gag-inducing powers.
  59. LanceC.
    Jun 4, 2006
    2
    I am the kind of movie snob that usually agrees with critics, but I really dont see how this film got any acclaim whatsoever. It was downright boring. The dialogue was laughibly sophmoric and dumb - there is really no other way to say it. We are suppose to feel an affinity for this wierd Norman Rockwell take on small town life. The film starts out with an after school special bully thing I am the kind of movie snob that usually agrees with critics, but I really dont see how this film got any acclaim whatsoever. It was downright boring. The dialogue was laughibly sophmoric and dumb - there is really no other way to say it. We are suppose to feel an affinity for this wierd Norman Rockwell take on small town life. The film starts out with an after school special bully thing with the son. The resolution doesnt really make any sense - nor is there ever any tension. Expand
  60. David.S.
    Aug 4, 2006
    2
    Starts off great and goes nowhere from there. An unbelievable disapointment. All of the subplots were absolulely pointless. What the heck was the point of the son being bullied at school and the intense sex scenes with the wife. Neither had any place in this movie and no connection was ever made. The last straw was the poor ending. In summary another great concept sqaundered in a Starts off great and goes nowhere from there. An unbelievable disapointment. All of the subplots were absolulely pointless. What the heck was the point of the son being bullied at school and the intense sex scenes with the wife. Neither had any place in this movie and no connection was ever made. The last straw was the poor ending. In summary another great concept sqaundered in a meandering journey to nowhere. Shame on each and every critic who touted this movie so highly. These critics are an absolute disgrace to the public at large. Expand
  61. Riren
    Feb 3, 2007
    4
    This movie makes no statement about violence in our culture. Our "hero" discovers one day that he's very good at killing people and that he has some ties to a vicious and vague mob/mafia. How could he not know such things about himself? The eventual explanation is pathetic. As we wait for the reveal, with minimal suspense or intrigue along the way, there is an overgrown subplot about This movie makes no statement about violence in our culture. Our "hero" discovers one day that he's very good at killing people and that he has some ties to a vicious and vague mob/mafia. How could he not know such things about himself? The eventual explanation is pathetic. As we wait for the reveal, with minimal suspense or intrigue along the way, there is an overgrown subplot about his son's aptitude for violence, which is promptly dropped after putting us through a terrible and cliched roll of high school angst. It is not resolved midway through the movie; it is forgotten. None of the characters are fully realized, and most don't pass one dimension. Every attempt at two-dimensional characters is forced. The movie has good actors who make a handful of the scenes quite entertaining, but there is nothing else worthwhile in it. It's a movie that banks on its premise, then fails to deliver, and never develops a plot; instead, it throws disjointed scenes at you. Worse still, while it doesn't develop a plot, it is uncomfortably boring. Movies based on superheroes understand storytelling far better than this grittier graphic novel joint. Expand
  62. IH
    Jun 6, 2007
    2
    Oh God. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it scored 81 here. And so many 100s. Incredible. Personally, I think it's.. well... not crap, but pretty dran close. Sure, it might try to tell something about our culture and violence, but really, it does in an awfully painful way. The plot of this movie is about as predictable and uninteresting as it gets, bloody hell, first and Oh God. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it scored 81 here. And so many 100s. Incredible. Personally, I think it's.. well... not crap, but pretty dran close. Sure, it might try to tell something about our culture and violence, but really, it does in an awfully painful way. The plot of this movie is about as predictable and uninteresting as it gets, bloody hell, first and only time I saw it I guessed the ending within the first quarter of the film. And yes, terrible dialog, not that good acting (great actors though, just.. not in this movie), and it's terribly obvious it's only made to make money on the juicy violence. Hypo-bloody-critical, that's what it is. Expand
  63. Danny
    Dec 9, 2008
    2
    Pretty bad movie, expected a lot better from the initial critics responses. Could have been a TV movie alright. The family just seemed so fake, I couldn't relate with them. Overall I 'd avoid this movie.
  64. RebB
    Oct 11, 2005
    2
    Truly amazing that with such a great cast (and not a bad script) that this film has been awarded with such a high rating. This film was so slow that it overrun at my local cinema, one word for Cronenberg 'Editor', obviously and fan of Tarrantino and the Coen Bros (as I am) but the movie never felt like it was moving at all, no shocks (seen it all before) no thrills and quite Truly amazing that with such a great cast (and not a bad script) that this film has been awarded with such a high rating. This film was so slow that it overrun at my local cinema, one word for Cronenberg 'Editor', obviously and fan of Tarrantino and the Coen Bros (as I am) but the movie never felt like it was moving at all, no shocks (seen it all before) no thrills and quite frankly no good. Sorry will keep open mind for your next project David. Expand
  65. nigel
    Oct 10, 2005
    2
    I agree, it was totally awful. Worst movie to get good reviews ever.
  66. Larry
    Oct 13, 2005
    0
    This movie was so hyped that I couldn't wait to see it? By now I should know better. It was awful with a capital A. The acting was terrible; the plot preposterous;and the ending was so unrealistic that it gave the dysfunction Tom Cruise and War of The Worlds a run for its money as the worst ever. This movie is a total bomb. And please if we want to see soft porn we can rent it. No This movie was so hyped that I couldn't wait to see it? By now I should know better. It was awful with a capital A. The acting was terrible; the plot preposterous;and the ending was so unrealistic that it gave the dysfunction Tom Cruise and War of The Worlds a run for its money as the worst ever. This movie is a total bomb. And please if we want to see soft porn we can rent it. No need to see Maria and Vig do their thing on the stair case. I wanted to puke. Expand
  67. AlexO.
    Oct 14, 2005
    0
    Possibly the worst movie of the decade. This movie is so bad it hurts to even think about it. I paid $7.00 to see it and walked out halfway through it. The movie is schizophrenic, it goes from Gory (showing vivid images of a mans jaw being shot off) to sexually explicit ( the husband and wife apparently enjoy 69 as a position) all the while breaking stride and providing useless scene Possibly the worst movie of the decade. This movie is so bad it hurts to even think about it. I paid $7.00 to see it and walked out halfway through it. The movie is schizophrenic, it goes from Gory (showing vivid images of a mans jaw being shot off) to sexually explicit ( the husband and wife apparently enjoy 69 as a position) all the while breaking stride and providing useless scene after scene. The story had potential but the constant breaking of stride between scenes and the endless plot twists, along with the wooden and robot like preformances of all the actors involved....it is just too painful to keep writing. This is a movie you recommend to your most hated enemies. Garbaggio. Expand
  68. CherS
    Nov 5, 2005
    0
    Pop some corn at home and skip the lines. Silly movie, and some things just don't add up. No crowd at this movie, the word must be out.
  69. JessK.
    Nov 8, 2005
    0
    I don't know anyone who liked this movie.
  70. KurtS.
    Oct 18, 2005
    1
    I
  71. JosephF.
    Dec 17, 2005
    1
    Good premise. horrible execution, acting and dialogue. So over the top, it was laughable at times. The actors were so aware of how dramatic the situation was supposed to be that they forgot to actually live it. You could feel them praying for oscars nominations as they spoke. I didn't believe a word. And lets not forget the random full frontal nudity, as if cut and pasted from Good premise. horrible execution, acting and dialogue. So over the top, it was laughable at times. The actors were so aware of how dramatic the situation was supposed to be that they forgot to actually live it. You could feel them praying for oscars nominations as they spoke. I didn't believe a word. And lets not forget the random full frontal nudity, as if cut and pasted from another film. Horrid. Expand
  72. Cesar
    Oct 2, 2005
    3
    Just saw it, and generally unimpressed. Although the performances are very good, the pace is broken and the violence gets so its laugh out loud funny. Not so good for a psychological drama.
  73. tedb.
    Oct 22, 2005
    2
    WAY WAY WAY Overrated.
  74. JohnM
    Oct 29, 2005
    3
    This movie made me angry. I was so disappointed. It was slow. The plot,"a man's past comes back to haunt him" has been filmed a jillion times and they added nothing new to this genre of film. No stylish visuals, nothing. Not enough character background to give them some depth. The movie focused too much on establishing what a loving family I was watching and what a lovely life they This movie made me angry. I was so disappointed. It was slow. The plot,"a man's past comes back to haunt him" has been filmed a jillion times and they added nothing new to this genre of film. No stylish visuals, nothing. Not enough character background to give them some depth. The movie focused too much on establishing what a loving family I was watching and what a lovely life they had. I kept thinking to myself, "I get it movie, I get it now move on!" With proper editing this movie could have been 45 minutes long. It wasn't like I was expecting action, action, action and didn't get it.There isn't much. I was expecting more of a character study. I got none. The acting was good, but still don't see this movie. Expand
  75. SharonF.
    Oct 30, 2005
    0
    This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen! The dialog was terrible, the scenes were choppy, the female character was overly emotional and some of the action didn't may any sense. We made fun of it all the way through, whoever wrote this script needs to take some lessons from Tarantino.
  76. BrianN
    Oct 3, 2005
    0
    I walked out on this movie, first time I've done so in 15 years. We were laughing through the first 20 minutes. One of the most contrived, cliched character developments in film in a very long time. The only thing missing in the film's first act is a paper boy throwing the paper in the front lawn and a milkman dropping the bottles off to the missis. Sorry and pathetic.
  77. RichardG.
    Oct 3, 2005
    4
    The critics are way off on this movie.... Its only critically acclaimed because it has a strange ending and because it was so gorey. It is not a very good movie. The acting was TERRIBLE. The leading female actress overacted in every scene. No one gets to understand why the characters are so obtuse, and maybe we shouldnt, maybe its a part of the "art" of it, but at least give us a good The critics are way off on this movie.... Its only critically acclaimed because it has a strange ending and because it was so gorey. It is not a very good movie. The acting was TERRIBLE. The leading female actress overacted in every scene. No one gets to understand why the characters are so obtuse, and maybe we shouldnt, maybe its a part of the "art" of it, but at least give us a good package, some good camera work, and some good acting, and dialogue. Not a very good movie for actually movie goers Expand
  78. DeerkC
    Oct 4, 2005
    4
    This movie is critically over-rated. It's somewhat well acted, but oddly paced, at times inconsistant, annoying and, worse, outright dull. It's a plodding, pointless affair, with little in the way of intrigue or mystery, and what 'plot' there is to weave the scenes together is predictable, and uninteresting. Eventually becomes typical action-movie fair, but without the This movie is critically over-rated. It's somewhat well acted, but oddly paced, at times inconsistant, annoying and, worse, outright dull. It's a plodding, pointless affair, with little in the way of intrigue or mystery, and what 'plot' there is to weave the scenes together is predictable, and uninteresting. Eventually becomes typical action-movie fair, but without the budget or effects. It's ultimately pointless, people die, but nothing really changes. This movie is not in the least entertaining. Save your dollars. Expand
  79. DW
    Oct 4, 2005
    3
    Another film foolishly overrated by the critics, I suppose out of some clouded deference for Cronenberg. From the in-B-movies-only unfeeling bad guys of the beginning, through V. Mortenson's bad performance (that only serves its tricky purpose) and poorly executed action sequences, the movie is both inhuman and a stylistic mess. An idea squandered.
  80. pacowe
    Oct 5, 2005
    4
    I'm surprised at the positive reviews this film is garnering. I enjoyed the film somewhat, but only because I thought certain parts were intentionally humorous. The more I think about the overacting, the slow pace, the gratuitous sex scenes and the ultraviolence, the more I dislike the film.
  81. Robk
    Oct 6, 2005
    4
    A suprisingly bad film. The film overall had a lack of directing, which is surprising since this film was directed by the same man who directed Crash. The acting needed to be so much more and the plot itself missed a few twists and turn that the story desperatly needed. I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but now that I've seen it I wish I'd never heard of A History of Violence.
  82. EricK.
    Oct 7, 2005
    2
    The movie starts out with not one but two horrific performances by child actors (if you can't get a kid who can at least act a teesny little bit, DON'T put them in your movies) and goes downhill from there. Everyone in the movie was purposefully ugly...if I wanted to see that much ugly, I'd have stayed home and looked at my family for free. The violence was over the top, The movie starts out with not one but two horrific performances by child actors (if you can't get a kid who can at least act a teesny little bit, DON'T put them in your movies) and goes downhill from there. Everyone in the movie was purposefully ugly...if I wanted to see that much ugly, I'd have stayed home and looked at my family for free. The violence was over the top, the acting was horrific (everyone in the film seemed to be using a different dialect of English, for some reason), and the story was just....a huge chunk of pointlessness. Critics are raving. Critics are clueless. Expand
  83. Steve
    Oct 9, 2005
    3
    Not sure what film the critics were watching. It was pretty much average as far as movies go--nothing special. I had such high expectations after reading some of the reviews that I was thoroughly disapponted, and thus the especially low score.
  84. Davis
    Nov 13, 2006
    1
    Any acclaim hurled at this pathetically boring, overwraught, contrived movie is nothing more than an overreaching attempt to partake in the intellectual or artistic. The script is atrocious, with tremendously shallow dialogue and sub-stories that go nowhere and add nothing to the plot development. The sex scenes are contrived and forced. Viggo's acting is pretty convincing, and Ed Any acclaim hurled at this pathetically boring, overwraught, contrived movie is nothing more than an overreaching attempt to partake in the intellectual or artistic. The script is atrocious, with tremendously shallow dialogue and sub-stories that go nowhere and add nothing to the plot development. The sex scenes are contrived and forced. Viggo's acting is pretty convincing, and Ed Harris and William Hurt make the most of their cleche'd, ridiculously comical "villain" roles. But the supporting acting is flat and lifeless, and their characters lack any development whatsoever. This is probably one of the worst films I have ever seen. I put it right above "The Dukes of Hazzard", only because of the occasional interest scene of violence that prevented me from falling asleep. Expand
  85. JeffB.
    Jan 16, 2006
    2
    this movie uses every cliche in the book to drive the plot, and is so unoriginal, i found my self laughing out loud at parts that were supposed to be serious. and the acting is pitiful.
  86. Adam
    Jan 27, 2006
    3
    Dear God, this has to be the most overrated movie of the year. I don't understand why the critics all love it so much. I definitely felt like my intelligence was insulted watching this movie; all of the "subtle" details were beaten into my head with a lead pipe. One of my friends who loved the movie tried telling me that I just didn't get the point of the movie. I got the point,Dear God, this has to be the most overrated movie of the year. I don't understand why the critics all love it so much. I definitely felt like my intelligence was insulted watching this movie; all of the "subtle" details were beaten into my head with a lead pipe. One of my friends who loved the movie tried telling me that I just didn't get the point of the movie. I got the point, I had no choice but to "get it." Cronenberg was practically dangling the plot in front of the audience, like they couldn't figure it out on their own. The acting was decent, but the script absolutely sucks. Some of the dialogue was so bad, people in the theater were actually laughing out loud every five minutes like they were watching Wedding Crashers instead. Also, there's a big twist halfway through the movie that, I believe, kills any philosophical steam the movie might have picked up and sucks all the life out of the movie way before the ending, making it absolutely boring to watch. Expand
  87. JamesL.
    Mar 15, 2006
    1
    Proof that I will never take the 'expert' reviews seriously again. This was crap in its finest form. I just finished watching it 10 minutes ago; Ed Harris is the only memorable actor. The rest of them are melodramatic waste of space. Don't do it! Save your $ or suffer crap in its finest form ever.
  88. MarcM.
    Mar 15, 2006
    2
    Aside from the enjoyable melodramatic musical score, I thought this movie was horrible. Reasons: Forced acting: e.g. the daughter and son acting overly compassionate towards their father displaying out of context facial expressions. Weak love scene between husband/wife. Whether it's the director, script or just weak actors is hard to tell. I feel robbed at paying for a new release Aside from the enjoyable melodramatic musical score, I thought this movie was horrible. Reasons: Forced acting: e.g. the daughter and son acting overly compassionate towards their father displaying out of context facial expressions. Weak love scene between husband/wife. Whether it's the director, script or just weak actors is hard to tell. I feel robbed at paying for a new release video rental. In fact, it is not even worth $1.00 to see. Minor positive aspect: Robert Duvall and your friendly neighbourhood policemen were the only ones worthy of 'acting'. Expand
  89. mark
    Mar 16, 2006
    1
    I normally just come here to read reviews and never comment but I'm moved on this one to say how completely shocked I am this movie got so much hype. This was absolutely terrrible. Worse than most made for TV movies, I'm floored that big name critics liked it and shocked that it didn't go straight to video. It was poorly written, lazily produced, ultra-cliche. It'll I normally just come here to read reviews and never comment but I'm moved on this one to say how completely shocked I am this movie got so much hype. This was absolutely terrrible. Worse than most made for TV movies, I'm floored that big name critics liked it and shocked that it didn't go straight to video. It was poorly written, lazily produced, ultra-cliche. It'll make me tune into Morgenstern and Edelstein more who had enough integrity or insight to stay off of the bizarre bandwagon that carried this movie as far as it went. Expand
  90. KiwiClay
    Mar 19, 2006
    2
    Absolute Rubbish. Marketed as a violent art house rumination on violence and identity, but really all it was at the end of the day was a hamfisted, ham-acted, poorly written comic book movie. Avoid.
  91. Rizzo
    Mar 31, 2006
    1
    People are trying to pass this film off as intellectual. I agree that it may have a deeper meaning; however, as pessimistic as it may sound, most Americans do not get it upon watching the movie. Most just like the violence and the sex. The deeper meaning of the movie did not outweigh the fact that I found it unrealist and cheap.
  92. VictoriaH.
    Apr 12, 2006
    0
    I only watched this film, because I liked Viggo in "Hildago." This movie is a clunker. It is no better than a stupid Steven Segal flick. Watch this only if you like Cronenberg's fatalistic, dark view of existence where the 'hero' goes from a corn-fed Jimmy Stewart wannabe to a Steven Segal killing machine.
  93. CarolynB.
    Apr 16, 2006
    3
    The "professional" reviewers must be blinded by Cronenberg's reputation; otherwise, why the 81 ranking? We "users" are much closer to the mark, although I obviously think the ranking of 5.9 is still too high. This story has as many holes in the plot as it has holes in the bad guys' heads.
  94. SteveA.
    Apr 21, 2006
    4
    This movie accomplishes something rare: an extremely boring movie with graphic sex and violence. The movie is too dark, and the acting too moody. Even at the beginning, when the characters are supposed to be happy, they come off as gloomy and miserable. The teenagers, and gangsters, talk and act like they were written by a group of old men, out of touch with modern audiences. The male This movie accomplishes something rare: an extremely boring movie with graphic sex and violence. The movie is too dark, and the acting too moody. Even at the beginning, when the characters are supposed to be happy, they come off as gloomy and miserable. The teenagers, and gangsters, talk and act like they were written by a group of old men, out of touch with modern audiences. The male characters seem like they are sleep-walking through the movie. The female lead spends most of her time griping at the male lead. Overall, it feels like an R-rated soap opera with a few violent scenes. Expand
  95. MiKE
    Apr 2, 2006
    4
    If you make a "serious" movie, stick to it. The ending just falls apart. The main character becomes a super hero at the end. Killed the mood to the whole movie. The acting was ok. and so was the story. But once you see the trailer, you know what the movie is about.
  96. B.V.
    Apr 4, 2006
    1
    Conspiracy I say! There has to be. This is one of the most inane, idiotic, over the top, brain dead movies I have ever seen. The secret message that only smart people are supposed to get is ridiculous. Oh wait I guess I am not intelligent enough to understand. The acting is so bad I wanted to laugh out loud. The violence was okay and that is the only reason it even got a one. I Conspiracy I say! There has to be. This is one of the most inane, idiotic, over the top, brain dead movies I have ever seen. The secret message that only smart people are supposed to get is ridiculous. Oh wait I guess I am not intelligent enough to understand. The acting is so bad I wanted to laugh out loud. The violence was okay and that is the only reason it even got a one. I didn't realize that mafia hitmen were also navy seal ninja's able to disarm other hitmen with drawn weapons. The only way an intelligent person could think this was a good movie was if he was being paid to say it. Junk, garbage, crap...etc. Expand
  97. JenniferR
    May 11, 2006
    4
    [***SPOILERS***] When my husband brought this movie home on DVD, I was prepared to be blown away by a great film. I had the highest expectations. But about 10 minutes into it, I turned to my husband and said, "I don't know, I'm just not feeling this." Although directed in a very "true to life" way, the screenplay fails the characters by denying them a real sense of motivation to [***SPOILERS***] When my husband brought this movie home on DVD, I was prepared to be blown away by a great film. I had the highest expectations. But about 10 minutes into it, I turned to my husband and said, "I don't know, I'm just not feeling this." Although directed in a very "true to life" way, the screenplay fails the characters by denying them a real sense of motivation to do what they do and to say what they say. Tom wants to convince his wife that he's not the killer he used to be, she slaps him, and then he grabs her around the neck? And then rapes her? And she loves it? Whaa? His cat-like reflexes are more Walker Texas Ranger than Goodfellas and left me laughing and cringing at the same time. Expand
  98. KC
    Jun 21, 2006
    1
    Do not expect to see anything special with this movie. The storyline is mildly interesting however its been told so poorly its cringing. The attempt to show the family as close was totally overdone. The bullied son story was so predictable and its resolution ridiculous. The entire movie plods along at a rather pedestrian pace, a slight twist and its over. The critics are in danger of Do not expect to see anything special with this movie. The storyline is mildly interesting however its been told so poorly its cringing. The attempt to show the family as close was totally overdone. The bullied son story was so predictable and its resolution ridiculous. The entire movie plods along at a rather pedestrian pace, a slight twist and its over. The critics are in danger of loosing their credibility if they continue to give films like this good reviews. Expand
  99. PJW.
    Aug 19, 2006
    2
    Awful. Easily the most lame portrayal of evolution and sociology of violence. Terrible script and horrible acting. Awful.
  100. KevinA
    Jul 17, 2007
    1
    Metacritic needs to get an "Incomplete" rating. I watched 15 minutes of this and turned it off - the writing, the acting, everything was so unbelievable, so unbelievably lame (yes, lame) that I could not even get to the first turning point. Oy.
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.