A History of Violence

A History of Violence

David Cronenberg (2005)

18 Certificate


Our Score
Although he plays it surprisingly straight for once, director David Cronenberg nevertheless brings a dry wit and a satirical edge to this dark thriller. Life is sweet as apple pie for local diner owner Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen, smartly tweaking his noble-hero persona), his wife Edie (Maria Bello, wholesome yet sexy) and their regulation two kids. But when Tom becomes a media hero after preventing a hold-up, a disfigured thug (Ed Harris) surfaces with henchmen in tow. Insisting Tom is his old Mob buddy "Joey" from Philadelphia, he manages to cast doubt even in Edie's mind, creating a central "is-he-or-isn't-he" mystery that's deliciously teased out. Once that question is solved, the film sags slightly, but it perks up again in the final act thanks to a ripe comic turn from William Hurt. The violence comes in small but brutal bursts - the closest Cronenberg comes here to the horror that made his name in such films as The Fly.


The owner of an Indiana diner lives a quiet life with his wife, but when armed robbers burst into his restaurant he takes the law into his own hands and becomes a local hero. Reluctant to accept the praise, the unassuming man continues with his simple existence - but a mysterious stranger raises questions about his past. David Cronenberg's thriller, adapted from the graphic novel, starring Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris.

Cast & Crew

Tom Stall Viggo Mortensen
Edie Stall Maria Bello
Richie Cusack William Hurt
Jack Stall Ashton Holmes
Leland Jones Stephen McHattie
Sheriff Sam Carney Peter MacNeill
Carl Fogarty Ed Harris
Sarah Stall Heidi Hayes
William "Billy" Orser Greg Bryk
Director David Cronenberg
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: EntertainmentGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse and nudity. Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 30 Sep 2005