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A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

Director: DAVID CRONENBERG

U.S.A.-CANADA • 2005 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 96 MIN


Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a happy family man running a diner in idyllic small-town Indiana, with a lawyer wife (Maria Bello), a teenage son and a little girl.One night he responds so deftly and definitively to the violent threats of two killers that he becomes a local hero. A Philadelphia mobster named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) hears of the story and soon arrives in town claiming that Tom has another name and background—that he was once a gangster himself who mutilated one of Fogarty’s eyes with barbed wire.
Is A History of Violence a popular genre movie, soliciting visceral, unthinking responses to its violence while evoking westerns and noirs? Or is it an art film, reflecting on the meaning, implications, and effects of its violence, and getting us to do the same? David Cronenberg’s genius here is the way he makes it impossible to settle this question.
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