Movie Review: A History of Violence (2005)


Dramas…what is there to say about them? They might be awesome, like “Elephant (2003)”. Or they might be ass, like…I don’t know, “Twilight (2008)”, or something. There are a lot of well known dramas out there. But what about one that was well known when it came out…but not really anymore? Today we are taking a look at such a movie.

Ladies and gentlemen…”A History of Violence”.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is one of those guys that people like. He is a calm, mild-mannered man who owns his very own café. He lives a happy life on the countryside with his wife Edie (Maria Bello), his son Jack (Ashton Holmes) and his daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes). But one evening when his café is about to close up and two armed robbers/killers (Stephen McHattie & Greg Bryk) invade. So when one of them is distracted, Tom takes act and manages to kill both of them. As the news spread that he had saved the day there, he is seen as a local hero. This of course drives more people to his café and also attracts a mysterious man named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris). Fogarty thinks Tom is this guy “Joey Cusack”, a gangster who used to work with him. Of course this stirs up some issues which not only affects Tom…but also his family. Now, this story might sound somewhat complex…but you get it pretty fast. It is a story that fits perfectly within the 95 minute length. It is kind of like “Drive (2011)”. It is short, but they manage to get a lot of stuff in there. It is also incredibly well paced.

Characters are just…realistic. Yeah, realistic. I am not saying they are all likeable, just saying they are for the most part reacting to things in a very realistic way. I mean, wouldn’t you get mad and try to save the day if someone held your employees and customers at gunpoint? No? Well fuck you, then.

The music is amazing. Howard Shore knows how to make a near perfect soundtrack. And I am only using near perfect on this considering I liked it a lot…but not THAT much. If there is one soundtrack Howard Shore has made perfect…it is “Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001 – 2003)”. But in general…this is great. A good amount of brass instruments and strings are used in it. The irony with Howard Shore making this soundtrack is that both he and Viggo Mortensen did things in the “Lord of The Rings Trilogy”. Shore did the score and Mortsensen was the badass semi-protagonist Aragorn.

I was surprised when I learned the truth about this movie. It is based on a graphic novel…yeah. I thought that it might have been based on a regular book…oh well, the more you learn. It is also shot in such a way that to me it looks like it was a “Made For TV” movie. I don’t know why…just feels like that.

“A History of Violence” had universally good reception. Rotten Tomatoes has an 87% postive rating for it and a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has 81/100 as score for it. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars and said this:

“A History of Violence seems deceptively straightforward, coming from a director with Cronenberg’s quirky complexity. But think again. This is not a movie about plot, but about character.” has 7,5/10 as score for this. It was also nominated for two Oscars. Best Supporting Actor (William Hurt) and Best writing, adapted screeplay (Josh Olson).

I have said some stuff about this little movie here. But now I can see you have your faces pressed against the screen wondering “BUT MARKUS…WHAT IS YOUR SCORE FOR THIS MOVIE!? WE WANNA KNOW!”. Well I was about to get to that, my very curious friends. This movie gets a 9,67/10 and of course…”THE SEAL OF APPROVAL!”. I really liked this movie and think you should buy it. I know availability will maybe not be the easiest thing always…but if you can get your hands on it…DO IT!

Review of “A History of Violence” is done.

If you piss me off…a history of violence WILL unfold (no it won’t).

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