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Generally favorable reviews- based on 639 Ratings

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  1. Nov 8, 2012
    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. Jan 3, 2011
    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
  3. Aug 11, 2010
    For as long as humanity has existed we have always been violent we may have not been created that way but somewhere down the line we found out that violence could save us or destroy us. It all depends on if we choose to use violence as a means of salvation or as a means of destruction in David Cronenberg's blunt yet very insightful film raises thought provoking and shocking questions about the true nature of violence and how it can affect some and change others. how sometimes a single act of violence can make all the difference, how it can change who you are and turn you into a person you told yourself you would never be. This is the story of one man, the story of one family and the story of "A History of Violence". David Cronenberg's violent, brutal and extremely intelligent look into the nature of violence is nothing short of insightful, moving and at times shocking, shocking because it delivers a story so true and unflinchingly honest that turning away from the screen, turning away from the story would be near impossible. It is such a powerful and thought provoking film that just leaps out at you at every turn it shocks and amazes with its brutal violence, it's emotional and heartfelt story of family angst and how the past can sometimes catch up with you. Cronenberg know for his gory horror films and wigged out thrillers has created a stable film of right and wrong, good and evil, life and death. Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" is not a film for the squeamish or the faint of heart what it is a powerful film experiences that leaves you with a haunted and disturbed feeling making you wish you had not seen the film and at the same also making you feel glad you did. This film calls you to watch a film that needs you to watch it to see the darkness of one manâ Expand
  4. Aug 21, 2010
    Um ato de brutalidade pode desencadear inumeros outros, virar de cabeca para baixo uma comunidade tranquila, desestruturar uma familia inteira, tornar alguem irreconhecivel para si proprio e pelos seus entes queridos, enfim, estilhacar o american way of life. O impeto de violencia existe em nossos genes, como em qualquer outro animal â
  5. Jul 15, 2011
    The Cronenberg trademark gore SFX are here, but so too is a great drama, characters and a story. If it kicks off feeling a little too made-for-TV (a little too saccharine on the domestic bliss angle?) , it pays off later in the adrenaline rush of sudden, brutal realistic violence.
  6. Oct 22, 2010
    Exciting, challenging, brilliant. A film that starts in on you hard--but slowly--giving you just one long chance (a monumental single shot sequence) to get up to speed and recognize that if you ever think the story is uneven, implausible, it's because YOU aren't getting it. It's a parable, a morality play, a electrically-fast hand-to-hand combat symphony, but above all, it's about people's wishes to be good and peaceful until they are threatened, when they wish for a savior to step between their lives and the paradox of unsympathetic evil that cannot be dissuaded. If you have ever been in that situation, you know--but may not accept, or like yourself for it--you know that you would destroy that man that threatens you. But then, how to live? Many of us chose to live by avoiding the problem (and who wants to have it?) and therefore letting others destroy for us. This film reminds us: those others that destroy for us have faced the same choice, and come to a different conclusion: they will not avoid. Are they worse for helping us live? Have you watched bullying and done nothing? Have you not been involved? Have you risked yourself for me? If not, don't condemn me for helping you live. Expand
  7. Jan 6, 2013
    A History of Violence has it's plus points (a good story, some cool over-the-top murder action and some kinky sex) but they're offset by some ham-fisted scripting, flat direction and too many sub-plots that don't come together. The movie ends up being decent entertainment but still feels somewhat half-baked.
  8. Feb 8, 2011
    It really does believe in itself. Really. Which is tragic, because it is a totally unnecessary and ridiculous mess that I am, to this day, ashamed to ever have seen. Most annoyingly of all, however, is how grossly overrated this sack of over-confident, half-hearted nonsense is. If you are into films, please do not listen to what you hear, and AVOID this film. Utterly shameful.
  9. j30
    Nov 15, 2011
    Fantastic performances all around, Viggo Mortensen is one of the best actors around today. There's no corny one-liners from the bad guys, it's all raw and violent. There's almost something poetic about it.
  10. Dec 16, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is incredible. The sudden bursts of extreme violence, the acting, the raw sex scenes, everything is top notch. The story amazes, and the ending at the dinner table is one of the most tense and thrilling scenes I've ever witnessed. Expand
  11. Aug 25, 2014
    A History of Violence is raw and compelling. This film will make you question everything, absolutely everything. And for good reason. By the end, you'll understand why Viggo Mortensen is much more than Aragorn.
  12. Jul 18, 2013
    A History of Violence is not bad its disgraceful. The movie is made in such an uninteresting way with its poor dialogue, below average acting, and a pace that will leave you with a headache. The ending is predictable and frankly a joke.
  13. Jul 19, 2013
    I wonder how a movie can go from suspenseful and absorbing to seemingly worthless and uneventful. By the end, the storyline was pathetically simplistic. I hated the ending. It was as if everything that kept me entertained disappeared and was replaced by some peculiar straightforward garbage. However, that shouldn't diminish the fact that the majority of the film was very solid.
  14. Jul 25, 2014
    This one is definitely a slow burner, but the pay off is great and as a film, it is certainly something to marvel at. Firstly, the direction from David Cronenberg is great and as this was the first film of his I have seen, it certainly makes me want to continue going through his filmography. In terms of acting, Viggo Mortensen is great, as are Ed Harris and Maria Bello. The only actor whose performance was iffy was Ashton Holmes as Mortensen's son. He struggles at times, especially when on screen with heavyweights like Mortensen and Harris. In addition, the film is filled with tension. The film may be a slow burner and all, but once it kicks into high gear, things are very interesting thanks to these very well developed characters and their interpersonal relationships. While at the end of the day, this is a movie, everything felt very authentic and you really believed these people were who they said they were thanks to great writing, acting, and direction. The film has a smalltown feel as well, which is awesome. The violence is a tad graphic, but it never feels like it is too much, which is also a big plus for me personally. Overall, A History of Violence is a good film that really highlights what a thriller should be like. Expand
  15. Nov 22, 2012
    Was this a bad film? Not at all. Was this a great film? Not at all. Was this an ok film? Yes. A History Of Violence is just a so-so film. There are things that I really enjoyed about the film. However, I had a problems. I had a unfulfilled feeling in me watching this movie. I kept on expecting moments of greatness. There were several parts in this film that just lead you on, and the second you think something big is going to happen....... nothing happens. There is all this tension and conflict in the characters, but I feel so unfulfilled by the end of the flick. I really wanted it to expand on several plot points. I felt like I watched the beginning and the middle of the film. It was as if there was something else in store, but it wasn't shown. Now the title does live up to the film. There is much violence in this film, but the violence is not as interesting as many other great films. Watch this film if you want to. Watch it if you don't. Like I said, its not the worst or the best film. It is just ok. Expand
  16. Jul 22, 2013
    This is a top-notch film. It is paced very well and the story is great. I was continuously waiting for the next development to find exactly what was going on. Combine all of this with great acting and you've got something really good.
  17. Mar 29, 2014
    While exploring richly thematic ideas of harm, family, and the troubled past, David Cronenberg and the case of "A History Of Violence" ultimately craft a fantastically thought-provoking and thoroughly intriguing thriller.
  18. Apr 2, 2014
    A history of violence was the first movie ever that i realized that a one and a half hour movie can be painfully long.
    i was completely shocked by the overall terrible performances, even from Viggo Mortensen and i was shocked again when i knew that William Hurt was nominated for an academy award for his terrible awkward performance, and what made it worst is the directing.
    Yes the
    directing was terrible coming from the director of Eastern promises. from the first 5 minutes i realized that the movie was slow, and i was kinda hoping for it to be like a cool directorial thingy, but it's not, it kept going like this making the movie painful to watch.
    i just seen Eastern promises and i really liked it, Viggo Mortensen character was dark and the story had depth but here, we have a shallow character that just playing awkward to the point that even the connection between family members were awkward and unreal, i mean come on, a teenage boy kiss his mother good morning every day seriously ?
    and i'm not against nudity in films but the wife coming out of the bathroom completely naked was pointless and stupid, it was like "hey, we can do this and that" and the sex scene on the stairs was awkward, i genuinely felt that i was watching a movie by M. Night Shyamalan.

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
    Lack of depth, complexity or strangeness make this a relatively routine entry for the director.