A History of Violence (2005) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Thriller
New Line || R - 96 minutes - $28.99 || February 10, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-03-03

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer(s): John Wagner and Vince Locke (graphic novel); Josh Olson (screenplay)
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt

Theatrical Release Date: September 30, 2005

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Documentary
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Digital Copy

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

So I went to the store today. Nothing interesting happened, my friends were just glad I went somewhere without getting hit on. Little do they know that I managed to get the cashiers phone number AND the girl who bagged my groceries as well. Well, they might know if they read this paragraph or my review of A History of Violence, but letís get onto the review, shall we?

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) lives in a small town with his wife Edie, (Maria Bello) his son Jack, (Ashton Holmes) and daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes). Tom runs a small dinner along with Edie in town where everyone knows everyone and itís quite a quaint town if I do say so myself, and I do. Jack gets picked on a ton at school for being better than the resident jock in the town Bobby (Kyle Schmid) and gets beaten up pretty badly verbally by him throughout the film.

Meanwhile, one night at the diner two strange men walk into the restaurant and confront Tom about being someone else. Tom, baffled at the idea heís not who he says he is, asks the men to leave politely. The men of course refuse and draw a gun on him and try to kill one of the waitresses trying to leave for the night. Tom kicks the living crap out of both of the guys in a rather painful scene to watch and manages to kill both of them (Iím assuming kill; afterwards they didnít look like they were getting up).

Inadvertently, Tom becomes the hero of the town and gets nationwide coverage from it. He returns home from the hospital to find news stations on his lawn trying to ask him questions. He quickly shrugs them off and goes to bed when he sees a strange car still in the driveway that goes away after a few minutes. Once again, Tom just shrugs it off and goes to sleep.

His diner though has gained massive popularity and appears much more packed than it previously was because of his status now as a hero. The people are great, except for someone who visits the town named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris) who talks to Tom about who he really is. Tom once again says he has no idea, even though Fogarty tries to continually push the issue that he is in fact a member of a gang that he killed a bunch of people in. He asks Fogarty to leave, and he does, but Edie calls the cops on Fogarty to make sure he gets the message to stay away from the town.

Edie takes her child out for new shoes and manages to lose Sarah at the mall somehow. She manages to find her nearby and spots Fogarty there as well who talks to her in that sinister ďhey you know Iím the bad guy and Iím not going to go away until your husband admits he is some killer that used to work for gangsĒ voice. Meanwhile, Jack gets suspended from school for just laying out Bobby for him talking smack about his family. This makes Tom angry because violence isnít the answer, and Iím sure you know what Jackís response to that was, so Jack storms out.

The wife returns home to warn Tom about Fogarty still in town, when he pulls up in a limo with Jack in tow and says heíll return Jack if Tom comes quietly back to his town to talk to some friends. What will Tom do? Is he really the killer that everyone thinks he is? Or is it just a case of mistaken identity?

Normally I hate movies that make the plot so obvious it becomes redundant, but this film actually makes it work. I was a little disappointed though with some of the ďover-actingĒ going on by Harris and the Stall family, but Viggo is great in this flick for sure. It is a bit short though for a film, and does lack the violence that the name suggests, but for the most part it is a great movie that does need to be seen just based on the movie quality itself.


Commentary by Director David Croneberg: The highlight of this special feature package, as Croneberg talks throughout the movie about the cast and what it was like to shoot the flick. A great commentary that is truly worth a listen if youíve got the time.

Acts of Violence Mini-Documentary Gallery (66 minutes): A rather lengthy documentary that is great to watch if youíve got roughly an hour to spare. It goes through the shooting of the film and how some of the scenes were shot along with interviews from cast and crew.

Violenceís History: United States Version vs. International Version (1 minute): A look at the differences between each version of the movie.

Too Commercial For Cannes (9 minutes): This feature takes a look at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of this flick.

Deleted Scene (3 minutes): A scene that didnít make the cut into the movie presented in black and white. Itís not an entertaining scene and I can see why it didnít make it into the film.

The Unmaking of Scene 44 (7 minutes): This takes a gander at the scene where Stall blows away Fogarty and how the scene was constructed.

Finally, the filmís Theatrical Trailer can be found as well.

The only exclusive that can be found is the Digital Copy for transfer to iTunes.


On the video side of things, this is a fine looking film. Grain is present but not in distracting amounts. However there were some issues with contrast throughout, as some scenes were a bit dark compared to others being a little too bright. Color-wise though the movie is a knockout, as flesh tones and the cast look great as well as in terms of depth. This is an upgrade from the DVD for those wondering.

The audio side presents itself nearly as well, as the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track gets the job done, and gets it done pretty dang good too. The action shots rang my system to exceptional levels, but after they were done, I felt the dialogue was a little bit too low in comparison to previous scenes. Dialogue for the most part is crisp and clear, but there are a few times where levels are inconsistent with the rest of the film and struggle to be heard. This, like the video, is a great upgrade from past DVD editions.


History of Violence is an entertaining movie that doesnít rely on massive amounts of blood and gore to get the story told. Okay, it uses a lot of it, but it works in the long run. The story is great, the cast perfect, and the ending is also satisfying. The technical side of things is also a pleasant surprise, boasting above-average audio and video scores, and the special features package is rather large for fans to watch. If you already own the DVD though thereís no real reason to upgrade, but anyone else should pick this one up post haste. This is one history to look deeper into.