I first saw A History of Violence at the cinema in 2005. This wasn’t because it was the latest David Cronenberg film but was rather because the nineteen year old me thought it would be cool to see the new film “with that Lord of the Rings guy in it”. I’ve changed substantially in the last seven years and have since grown to love film but for me what was great about the film on my first naive viewing is still great but unfortunately what is poor, remains so. The film was released to universal critical acclaim but for me at least it is nowhere close to Cronenberg’s best work.
Tom Stall (That guy off of The Lord of the Rings) is a mild mannered diner owner in a small town in Indiana. He has close ties to the community and a loving family which includes his wife (Maria Bello), son (Ashton Holmes) and young daughter (Heidi Hayes). One day two crooks come to town and try to rob Tom’s diner but after fending them off in an act of self defence Tom gains a little local celebrity. This attracts the attentions of East Coast gangster Carl Fogarty (Ed Harri) who seems convinced that quiet, shy Tom is a former gangster called Joey.