A History Of Violence

A History Of Violence

by David Cronenberg (2005)

In a small American town, the local bartender saves lives and kills two criminals during a robbery attempt.

He immediately becomes a national hero, but something unclear emerges from his past.



“Violence, sometimes it’s not clear and immediate, but an unstoppable force.

The problem is the conscience, Joey. A real one.

Violence has its reason, its method…it’s his message! He sends the message of peace for heroes like Joey.

And what about you, dear?”

(Carl Fogarty)


I doubt of Edie.

How well do you know the person by your side, the one you’ve decided to share your life with, the one you’ve built a family with?

And if something incredibly unexpected and unusual happened one day, something that tore apart the rosy and reassuring horizon you’ve always imagined?

Could you look at your husband with the same eyes as before? Would you believe him or the testimony of disreputable people you didn’t even know the day before, but who seem sure of what they say?

And if, finally, the evidence of the facts led you in that same direction, where your worst nightmares become reality and everything seems to collapse on you?

What would you believe, Edie?

And most importantly, what would you do?


David Cronenberg directs a raw, ruthless film, where violence is always at the forefront, as the title suggests.

A theme developed differently here than usual: we are not facing the so-called “body horror,” where the shocking element is constituted by a deformed or otherwise altered body.

“A History Of Violence” shows, in fact, a more “real” violence, intertwined with the world of Irish organized crime and destroys everything, first and foremost the family environment.

The final scene of the film is devastating in this regard.

But this violence serves to explore the duality of man, the boundary between reality and appearance, between interiority and exteriority, up to a real mutation of the character.

Viggo Mortensen is stunning, as usual, in interpreting an ambiguous and unreadable man, but Ed Harris is not far behind, perfectly at ease in the role of the scarred “villain.”

Honorable mention also for Maria Bello in the role of Edie, a woman who feels a heavy and destructive doubt growing inside her, day after day.

And then there’s also a small part for William Hurt, nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

“A History Of Violence” is a stunning film, among my favorites by this director.

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