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A History of Violence (New Line Platinum Series)
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Tom Stall is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife Edie and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, but one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a man from his past.
On the surface, David Cronenberg may seem an unlikely candidate to direct A History of Violence, but dig deeper and you'll see that he's the right man for the job. As an intellectual seeker of meaning and an avowed believer in Darwinian survival of the fittest, Cronenberg knows that the story of mild-mannered small-town diner proprietor Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is in fact a multilayered examination of inbred human behavior, beginning when Tom's skillful killing of two would-be robbers draws unwanted attention to his idyllic family life in rural Indiana. He's got a loving wife (Maria Bello) and young daughter (Heidi Hayes) who are about to learn things about Tom they hadn't suspected, and a teenage son (Ashton Holmes) who has inherited his father's most prominent survival trait, manifesting itself in ways he never expected. By the time Tom has come into contact with a scarred villain (Ed Harris) and connections that lead him to a half-crazy kingpin (William Hurt, in a spectacular cameo), Cronenberg has plumbed the dark depths of human nature so skillfully that A History of Violence stands well above the graphic novel that inspired it (indeed, Cronenberg was unaware of the source material behind Josh Olson's chilling adaptation). With hard-hitting violence that's as sudden as it is graphically authentic, this is A History of Violence that's worthy of serious study and widespread acclaim. --Jeff ShannonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
AHoV finally gets the balance between story, characters and violence/horror/gore that his previous films could never quite find. The pacing of the film is absolutely perfect and aftre starting slowly, accelerates to the unusual conclusion. Perhaps the greatest surprise of the film is that after the initial curveball, there are no more real surprises - it unfolds in a wholly believable yet gripping storyline.
One constant in Cronenberg's work is excellence in casting and here there is no let-down. Mortenson, Hurt, Bello and Harris are brilliant. The couple of poor reviews here seem to be due to disgruntled Lord of the Rings fans. It should be needless to say that this is NOT Lord of the Rings but some people are not too bright.
As the Amazon review states, this film is "worthy of serious study and widespread acclaim".
I saw this movie at the theater (I was amazed that we even got it in our small town) and was dismayed at the crowd reaction (though it was a rather small crowd). At the end, just about everyone walked out muttering something about how stupid the conclusion was ("All they did was look at each other... whine whine..."). Most of these people cannot even pronounce the name Cronenberg and were undoubtedly expecting the latest Viggo action movie. Truth be told, I think the casting of Viggo Mortensen was a mistake. Now hear me out. Like everyone, I love Lord of the Rings. I love Viggo. As his performance in "A History of Violence" demonstrates, he is an incredibly gifted actor. Unfortunately, he seems doomed to be forever remembered as Aragorn. How many people saw this movie because of Lord of the Rings? And how many of those were incredibly disappointed? I am reminded of when P.T. Anderson cast Adam Sandler in "Punch-Drunk Love." Fans of "Magnolia" and "Boogie Nights" loved the film because it was a P.T. Anderson film. Fans of Adam Sandler were rather less receptive.Read more ›
The film opens with two of the most repulsive villains in film history. They are repulsive because they are uncomfortable realistic in their psychopathy and lust for violence. Later, the viewer is then manipulated in experiencing the exhilaration of violence when these two villains finally meet their match in someone who is just as comfortable with violence, but without the lust for it. It is rather disconcerting, and one can see how dangerous it is to humanity, when justice and violence become allies, since in the end something is nevertheless taken away from our spirit. The interesting thing about this film, I believe, is how the film doesn't just exploit the entertainment value of violence, but attempts to explore its impact on the humanity of good people.
Cronenberg does an excellent job in balancing these two themes. We get an exciting story that has violence, certainly, but we have an unusual character development in the anti-hero of the film, played by Viggo Mortensen, in another fine performance, and the interaction he has with his family, particularly his wife, played by Maria Bello, in what can only be described as a remarkable performance. Ms. Bello conveys a wonderful diversity of emotions, from uninhibited sensuality, sensitivity, and maternal nurturing to moral strength and courage.
Special mention has to go out to the villains in this film, for without them there would be no movie. I found Stephen McHattie and Greg Bryk absolutely outstanding as the two psychopaths that open the film.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I dont consider myself to be a Cronenberg fan but this film was just outstanding. Story, characters. I wont say too much because of spoilers but there are twists and turns in this. Read morePublished on June 2 2013 by D. Steigman
Even though I am not generally a big fan of action movie, I am fascinated by that powerful movie, well played, very human, very original with Viggo M. and Ed Harris. Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2010 by Marie-Noël Corriveau
A History of Violence is a rare foray into mainstream film for director
David Cronenberg.it is a solid effort,with good performances all
around. Read more
In a television interview sometime between Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch, film-maker David Cronenberg asked his interviewer (and audience) why beauty was inevitably a "surface"... Read morePublished on March 14 2007 by Amazon Customer
the movie was painfull to watch. never have i wanted a movie to end as this movie. i loved the actor before i watched the movie and that is the reason i bought it. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2006 by tamara s