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A History of Violence (New Line Platinum Series)

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: eOne Films Distribution
  • Release Date: May 22 2015
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000E1126G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,926 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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 Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
David Cronenberg's portfolio of work always frustrated me. You could see the creative genius behind the many, varied stories he told but they always seemed to come up a bit short or go over the top or strain credulity. I used to believe 'Naked Lunch' was his best work, especially considering the obtuse source material. However, this is the director's crowning achievement.

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".
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Format: DVD
Most people who didn't like this film didn't like it because they consider it a Viggo Mortensen film. It is a David Cronenberg film, and one of his best at that. I've been a Cronenberg fan for several years now, and he is one of my all time favourite directors along with Kurosawa and Gilliam. He has been moving away from his patented "body horror" films into a more somber and psychological realm. As a result, "A History of Violence" has more in common with "Spider" than it does with "Videodrome." It is deliberately slow which helps to underscore the bursts of, well, violence, rendering them all the more shocking. If you are expecting a Cronenberg horror film, or even a Hollywood action movie, look elsewhere.

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.
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Format: DVD
A History of Violence is terrific entertainment. From the opening scene, to the last scene, the film absolutely engages the viewer into this world of love, conversion, and forgiveness battling an unforgiving past of hate and violence.

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.
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I saw this in the movies and I have to tell you this film packs a wallop!I'm a huge David Cronenberg fan and this one is his best to date.Tom Shall is a loving caring husband who works hard at the little cafe in town which he owns.Is he who he is? Not to the men that come looking for him.To tell you the rest would spoil it.I kept wondering when that traditional Cronenberg violence would set in and believe me its there.Its just as graphic as the novel.William Hurt has a cameo toward the end and he's great.I could tell he liked that roll.A History of Violence is right up there with The Fly. I still remember every scene and I saw it in early fall.That my friend is a big plus for me!
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