A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Neither Fish Nor Fowl
Release Date: September 23, 2005
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mario Bello,
Ed Harris, William Hurt, and
Runtime: 96 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: David Cronenberg
Executive Producer: Toby Emmerich, Justis Greene,
Roger Kass, Cale Boyter, and
Producer: David Cronenberg, Chris Bender
and J. C. Spink
Writer: Josh Olson
Address Comments To:Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 354-1824
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE opens with two killers slaughtering the staff of an isolated motel and killing a little girl. The two killers walk into Tom Stall’s small diner and threaten Tom and the people there. Tom expertly dispatches the killers and becomes a local TV hero.
One day, while Tom and his beautiful wife are in the diner, Fogarty, a gangster from Philadelphia, walks in and accuses Tom of being a gangster who disappeared almost 20 years ago after scarring Fogarty’s face. Tom lies and denies it. His wife and the local sheriff believe him, but Fogarty keeps bothering Tom and his family, including his teenage son and little daughter. Events come swiftly to a head, Tom’s wife learns the truth, and Tom must resume his former violent identity in order to stay free and alive.
The family dynamics in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE are overwrought. Some people in the audience were even laughing at some situations and characters, especially a subplot involving Tom’s son and a bully that affects Tom’s relationship with his son. Furthermore, the violent gangsters are caricatures, and some themes are brought up and then dropped, or not elaborated upon by the rest of the movie. Finally, the movie offers few insights into Tom’s split personality. His character remains pretty much a blank, as does the movie’s ambiguous, unimpressive vision and worldview.
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE also contains strong foul language, graphic violence and two gratuitous sex scenes between Tom and his wife. There is also a gratuitous shot of full female nudity as Tom’s wife, who’s in an opened robe, walks angrily into their bathroom.
The family dynamics in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE are overwrought. Some people in the audience were even laughing at some of the situations and acting. Furthermore, the violent gangsters are caricatures. Finally, the movie offers few insights into Tom’s split personality. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE also contains strong foul language, graphic violence, nudity, and two gratuitous sex scenes between Tom and his wife.