Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 621 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Tom Stall is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, until one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. (New Line Cinema)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 100
    Other films this year will have to sweat bullets to match the explosive power and subversive wit of David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. It slams you like a body punch and then starts messing with your head.
  2. A masterpiece of indirection and pure visceral thrills, David Cronenberg's latest mindblower, A History of Violence, is the feel-good, feel-bad movie of the year.
  3. 90
    Cronenberg holds up a mirror, but he leaves it up to us to recoil at what we see.
  4. It ranks high on the Cronenberg scale as one of his more disturbing forays into depravity.
  5. 80
    Ed Harris and William Hurt deliver inspired turns as the villains.
  6. Don't let the slow, deliberate pace fool you. A lot is going on in David Cronenberg's masterful A History of Violence, and you'll miss it if you blink.
  7. This sort of investigation has been done so masterfully by Sam Peckinpah in "The Wild Bunch" and Oliver Stone in "Natural Born Killers" that, in a sternly utilitarian sense, we don't need Cronenberg. He is not, as far as I have seen, in their class. He proves it again in A History of Violence.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  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. Expand
  2. 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
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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. Expand

See all 315 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. Comic Book Movies: Marvel vs. DC vs. Indie Publishers

    Comic Book Movies: Marvel vs. DC vs. Indie Publishers Image
    Published: July 26, 2011
    Whose comics make better movies: those published by Marvel, or ones from DC? Or do the best films come from indie comics, like this week's adaptation of Platinum Studios' "Cowboys & Aliens"? Find out inside as we compare the films of each comic book publisher.
  2. Kicking Ass: The Best and Worst Comic Book Movies

    Kicking Ass: The Best and Worst Comic Book Movies Image
    Published: April 12, 2010
    Which comic book movies kick ass, and which deserve to be kicked to the curb? We run through the best and worst examples of films based on comics, from "Superman" to "Howard the Duck."