A History of Violence

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A History of Violence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Maria Bello
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: New Line Cinema
Kiddie Movie: For goodness sake, leave them at home.
Date Movie: Only if she can handle a lot of gore.
Gratuitous Sex: Very intense and, frontal nudity, and Viggo’s butt.
Gratuitous Violence: Some of the best quality kills I’ve seen in a long time.
Action: Not too much chasing.
Laughs: A great scene at the end that it probably isn’t appropriate to laugh, but I laughed my ass off.
Memorable Scene: The scene in the front yard with Tom Stall and Carl.
Memorable Quote: I’m not saying who said it, but it’s simply the line “How do fuck that up?”
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Produced By: Chris Bender, David Cronenberg, J.C. Spink

As I was leaving “A History of Violence” my initial reaction was simply “Holy crap!” mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that had such brutal violence, intense sex, sort of disappointing nudity, appreciation for the cheerleader fantasy, creepy characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and perfectly cast characters. Such was my take on “A History of Violence.”

The premise of the story goes like this…

Viggo Mortensen is Tom Stall. He runs Stall’s Diner in a quiet, little, Midwestern town where other than bullies picking on other kids, there really isn’t much violence happening. He’s got a loving, hot wife in Edie (Maria Bello), and a nerdy son, Jack (Asthon Holmes), the latter of whom keeps getting picked on by the high school bully. Things are their normal, quiet, self, until these two bad guys, who have been on a killing spree since they left the west coast, show up at Stall’s Diner. They’re threatening the few people there, planning to take advantage of the waitress, when Tom springs into action. The next thing we know the two bad dudes are dead, or at least we’re pretty sure since one of them doesn’t have much of his face left as his jaw is kind of bouncing up and down in a pool of blood, and Tom is a hero. Of course the television crews show up, and now Tom Stall is on every news channel as a hero.

The next thing we know, Carl (Ed Harris), a creepy, mob-looking kind of guy with a bad eye, shows up in the diner, telling Tom that Tom is really a mob guy from Philly named Joey. Tom looks at him like he’s nuts, Edie is creeped out by the dude, especially when they find out from their local sheriff that Carl isn’t just a mob-looking kind of guy, but is a mob guy, and at this point we’ve got a lot of questions.


Is Tom really Joey or is this just a case of mistaken identity? Will Tom’s family pay for this mistaken identity if that’s what it is? Will Jack get some balls? How did Carl get such a messed up face to begin with? How did they clean up all of that blood so quickly? How in the hell can nudity be disappointing?

Well I’m not giving you the answer to any of those questions except the last. First off, God bless Maria Bello for not being afraid to take her clothes off, and she really doesn’t have any reason to be afraid because she’s pretty hot. But, the full-frontal nudity scene for me, was slightly disappointing, because it came at a time I was really conflicted about the scene that just preceded it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Wrapping this up, “A History of Violence” has some of the best quality kills in a long time, so if you’re not one for blood and guts getting everywhere, stay away. Also, if sex in cinema makes you sick, this is definitely not for you. But if any of that entices you, along with a really quality thriller where Viggo Mortensen does a fantastic job as the small-town Tom, Maria Bello shows Edie wondering if Tom really is who he says he is fabulously, and Ed Harris is as creepy as I’ve ever seen him just saying the word “Joey.”

I really had a great time at “A History of Violence,” but do understand if this movie isn’t for you. But it was for me, and I wasn’t afraid to laugh out loud, even though it seemed a little inappropriate, during a scene towards the end of the film. 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “A History of Violence.”

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!