New Line Cinema | Release Date: September 23, 2005
7.4
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Generally favorable reviews based on 806 Ratings
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575
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Negative:
148
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10
Lopez17Aug 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 aFor 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
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9
CremildoAug 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 oUm 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 Expand
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8
tonyGreenJul 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 adrenalineThe 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. Expand
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10
WeismuellerOct 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,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
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6
TokyochuchuJan 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 endsA 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. Expand
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1
SchmidtFeb 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 ofIt 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. Expand
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9
j30Nov 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.
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9
jsp41Dec 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
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6
imthenoobNov 9, 2016
The run time is rather short and doesn't offer much dialogue nor real plot progression. We see it visually advance in the plot but we don't really experience it. I think it could have been a much deeper film if that add a bit of dialogue andThe run time is rather short and doesn't offer much dialogue nor real plot progression. We see it visually advance in the plot but we don't really experience it. I think it could have been a much deeper film if that add a bit of dialogue and really explored the characters, Who could have been very compelling. I mean this is a family who is finding out that their father/husband isn't who he says he is and it shatters the mold of the perfect small town family that they built through out their lives.

I also think it wastes a very talented cast and doesn't really make much use of it them as well. Harris is always fun to watch and I loved Mortensen as the lead. Maria Bello is solid as well. Yet again they don't really make sure of them. All in all it's not a terrible movie but there's a lot of wasted potential.
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8
beingryanjudeAug 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.
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2
csw12Jul 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.
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6
Trev29Jul 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 wasI 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. Expand
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6
bigjon1958Jul 24, 2015
Great start to the movie through the first hour and then the last 30 minutes got kind of wacky and the personality of the main character did a 180. Overall a good movie, but surprised the critics rated it so highly.
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8
SpangleJul 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 makesThis 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
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5
FilmEqualsJoyNov 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 unfulfilledWas 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
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9
YoursTrulyJul 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.
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10
trevortalksNov 14, 2012
Wow.
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8
Compi24Mar 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.
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2
oDjentoSep 29, 2015
The Scores for this film truly bewilder me as this is possible one of the worst films I’ve seen in a while: and I love Viggo Mortensen!
The film has a simple premise but doesn’t seem to really build up to anything from it. Viggo’s character
The Scores for this film truly bewilder me as this is possible one of the worst films I’ve seen in a while: and I love Viggo Mortensen!
The film has a simple premise but doesn’t seem to really build up to anything from it. Viggo’s character saves a community from criminals in a violent fashion and gets called a hero, but also attracts the Mob’s attention who think they know him. The premise never fully goes anywhere and the direction is all over the place, as in one scene where Cronenberg uses a panning shot that descends onto a boy at a baseball game. WHY USE THAT THERE? There are also far too many cuts in some scenes for instance, when Viggo returns home and it has a shot of everyone in his family in turn over and over and it was just too painful.
Then there is the “acting”. Viggo does an alright job of speaking quietly and then bursting into violence but nothing really is noteworthy about it. Maria Bello is awful in her role and is difficult to watch and the young teenager goes from doing an alright job to becoming worse as the film goes on. Then the 2 villains in the film hardly get enough screen time to really develop or become interested in or even really enjoy watching.
Then there are plenty of scenes that are just kind of unnecessary, one scene in particular being a perceived rape scene (which would’ve added controversy yes but really shown more about Viggo’s character) and turns it into a consensual and erotic staircase sex scene that just comes out of the blue and seems completely absurd. The directing of it is pretty shabby also, at one point cutting to a shot or the bottom of the stair case where you can see on leg moving slightly. Hmmm, such a vital shot. Straight after this they then also add in some unneeded nudity just to hopefully gain viewers interest for a few seconds again.
I really, really, really struggled to even attempt to enjoy this movie. The violent scenes are pretty unexpected and gruesome but they can’t give this film a better rating when the majority of the rest of the film is a trainwreck. Please try miss this for your own sake and money.
2.5/10
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8
ReelViewsJun 14, 2015
David Cronenberg, the director of such films as Dead Ringers and The Fly, has a reputation for being a little "out there." It may come as a surprise, therefore, to learn that his latest, A History of Violence, is almost mainstream in the wayDavid Cronenberg, the director of such films as Dead Ringers and The Fly, has a reputation for being a little "out there." It may come as a surprise, therefore, to learn that his latest, A History of Violence, is almost mainstream in the way it tells a linear story and curtails freaky images. The movie, which is at its heart a meditation upon the meaning of identity, is not perfect. Although there's little wrong with the first two-thirds, A History of Violence slides onto a tangential path during its final act, and this misstep reduces the production's overall effectiveness. Nevertheless, there's a lot to admire here.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a model citizen, ideal father, and loving husband. His two children, Jack (Ashton Holmes) and Sarah (Heidi Hayes), trust him, and his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), adores him. The fun hasn't gone out of their marriage, as Edie proves when she dons a cheerleader outfit to seduce Tom. One evening, while Tom is working behind the counter at his diner, two thugs come in with rape and robbery on their minds. After a brief struggle, Tom gets the gun away from one of the robbers and uses it to dispatch both intruders. He is hailed as a hero, and there is blanket news coverage. And it's on TV that Carl Fogaty (Ed Harris) sees a familiar face. Based on the evidence of his eyes, the man who calls himself Tom Stall is actually Joey Cusack, an ex-killer from Philadelphia. So, with henchmen in tow, Carl heads for the town of Millbrook, Indiana.

Central to the film's success is the uncertainty about Tom's past. When confronted by Carl, he not only denies being Joey, but claims to have never been in Philadelphia. Neither the script nor Viggo Mortensen gives us a clue whether Tom and Joey are the same person, or whether Tom is the victim of an unfortunate coincidence. As the Stalls must deal with the new, dangerous presence in their life, they must grapple with questions of identity. What makes each of us who we are? Is it our face, or something deep within?

Cronenberg weaves a spell for over an hour, but he proves unable to sustain it for the entire running length. The need for a conventional resolution pulls him off course during the movie's final third. Some of the most interesting characters and relationships are taken off the screen to allow A History of Violence to move in a different direction. Since the screenplay is based on a graphic novel, I suspect that the filmmakers may have had little choice about the trajectory.

The children have their own mini-stories as well. Sarah is afraid of monsters in her closet, and is comforted by her father (who says there are no monsters) and brother (who asserts that monsters are afraid of the light). Meanwhile, Jack has problems with a school bully. At first, he backs down but, in the wake of his father's "heroic" actions at the diner, he decides that confrontation may be the better course of action. Has the wimp become an avenger? Once again, it comes back to a question of identity.

Mortensen finds the perfect pitch for Tom. In this performance, we see a good, simple man who cares about his family and community. But we also see hints of something else - a darker, more decisive personality. During the film's first hour, I changed my mind several times about whether Tom was Joey, and a lot of that had to do with the way Mortensen plays the role. Opposite him, Maria Bello is a firecracker, the kind of actress who draws the camera's attention. Not since The Cooler has she been given this juicy and demanding a part. And, as the villain, Ed Harris is nothing short of despicable.

A History of Violence can be seen as a thriller, but in many ways it works best during its quieter moments. As the title indicates, this is not a sedate art film. It contains moments of sharp, vicious mayhem and there is a body count. But the strength of the movie lies in its psychological complexity and depth. And, while I wasn't enthused about where A History of Violence takes the audience during its waning moments, it at least offers a sense of closure, and, in the final scene, hope. Left unresolved, however, is the perhaps unanswerable question about whether the nature and identity of a person are fixed or fluid.
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8
EpicLadySpongeMar 6, 2016
What's this? The last feature film made by Hollywood to be released on VHS? RIP - VHS'es. No longer relevant after 2006. A History of Violence is seriously one of those violent movies that actually works.
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7
CalibMcBoltsMay 30, 2016
David Cronenberg's ''A History of Violence'' starts off slowly, then changes into a brilliant sprinting marathon, but tumbles before the finish line. That's the best i could describe this film. The beginning is slow, the middle is trulyDavid Cronenberg's ''A History of Violence'' starts off slowly, then changes into a brilliant sprinting marathon, but tumbles before the finish line. That's the best i could describe this film. The beginning is slow, the middle is truly incredible, but the third act (after a certain turning point, i wont say which, but anyone who's seen the film knows what i'm talking about) falls falt on it's ass, and it loses all of its momentum which is such a disappointment, if the ending kept the same momentum as the first and second act, it would've totally been a 5/5 star movie.

As for the writing. I feel like it's a script written by the Coen brothers, but they had to hand it over to a serious director who doesnt like comedy so he deleted all of the light moments from the script to make a serious thriller. That's basically what it is, and it's remarkable. Also for a movie directed by David Cronenberg, this movie is surprisingly easy to watch without crazy disgusting imagery or practical effects, it's a pretty straight forward film which was interesting to see. The movie does have lots of explicit violence and 2 sex scenes, but you need to see something of Cronenberg's style in this film.

Except for the disappointing third act, David Cronenberg's ''A History of Violence'' truly is a remarkable thriller. (The slow build up is dismissive)
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8
daviddelnorte23Apr 12, 2017
Esta película me parece maravillosa. La presentación tanto de todos los personajes como de la trama y como hacen que todo encaje en un mismo punto es genial. Aunque cuando parece que la película se va a estancar y necesita un empujón, loEsta película me parece maravillosa. La presentación tanto de todos los personajes como de la trama y como hacen que todo encaje en un mismo punto es genial. Aunque cuando parece que la película se va a estancar y necesita un empujón, lo tiene con un espectacular giro de guión. A partir de ese momento parece que va a caer, pero se mantiene bien hasta el final. Y es que ese es otro de sus puntos fuertes, lo rápido que llega el final. Indicando que está bien escrita y muy BIEN montada, lo que hace que tenga un gran ritmo toda la película.

Los personajes están bien construidos y te crees que los protagonistas son una familia. Muy interesante el personaje de Viggo Mortensen e interpretado de manera sensacional. Mención aparte para la valentía de la mujer del protagonista. Ole.

Otro de los puntos fuertes de la película reside para mí, en la crudeza de las imágenes en la mayoría de las ocasiones. Una cámara que no rehuye de nada, ni de las consecuencias de la violencia ni se priva de mostrar las escenas de sexo, como si de una serie de la HBO se tratase.

En resumen, película fácil y rápido de ver pero no por ello menos buena. Todo lo contrario. Me ha dejado muy satisfecho y con un final muy 'agridulce' que la eleva más si cabe como una propuesta valiente. Genial. Un PEDAZO de 8.
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