A History of Violence (2005)


Crime | Drama | Thriller


David Cronenberg




Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes, Peter MacNeill, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk, Kyle Schmid


As he becomes a local hero, the life of loving family man Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is turned upside down by his past.


I haven't seen many of David Cronenberg's films, but if there's something I always know prior watching one of his films is that I'm going to like it. How is that? Well, simply because he is a great director able to deliver horror and messages at the same time. And "A History of Violence" is no different as it is another thought-provoking and quite horrifying drama.

Adapted from a Wagner and Locke graphic novel, the story, just like in all DC's films I've seen, is absurd, and that's when you can see what a filmmaker he is as he makes it feel actually believable. Some of the turns are predictable, but in spite of that, the story is still highly engaging and thrilling. And there's a subplot of the son and his troubles with a school bully that parallels beautifully the main storyline and highlights certain aspects of the film's themes.

Through a simple story, we are faced with an interrogative, something I'm sure each of us has wondered at least once in their life: do we really know those around us? How much of what we see is true? And that's how the theme of evil vs good and the inability to distinguish them is brought out.

However, like one would guess from the title, the theme that plays the biggest role in the story is violence. And, as one would expect, Cronenberg addresses it with brutal, graphic violence without lingering on it at all, and through action sequences that are quick and feel realistic and do not glorify violence.

All of that being said, Cronenberg wouldn't have been able to deliver this tight thriller without its great cast. Viggo Mortensen is sensational both as Tom, the good guy, and Joey, the dark side of Tom - and I can't think of anyone more appropriate to the role than him -, Ed Harris is memorable as the film's villain, Maria Bello provides a fine performance as Tom's wife, and Ashton Holmes does a very good job as Tom's son.


  1. I really like this one. It's my 2nd favorite Cronenberg behind Eastern Promises.

    1. I haven't seen that one yet but I promise I will :)

  2. Cronenberg can be weird but I have wanted to see this film for. Long time plus I love Viggo(hubba hubba)