What a movie! I am fully aware that a lot of critics have a joking response to this movie. IMHO, this movie is full of comedy that sticks oddly in your throat. It is uncomfortable in the way that it makes you want to watch it. It drags you in and throws you around.
In essence the story is of a small town man, Tom Stalls (Viggo Mortensen), who when faced by a pair of murderous robbers in his coffee shop performs in a way that lends the viewer to believe there is something else behind this man. To tell you more would be to ruin the movie.
Some people will not understand the ending... the purpose... or why it ends where it ends. Honestly, I don't see why it ended where it did. The story felt cut off... at a point where I was really drawn into the movies core. That core is Tom's family and how it dealt with the situation at hand.
Like Stephen Kings masterpiece, The Shining, it is about the degradation of the family under extraordinary circumstances that interests me. The movie version of The Shining failed to deliver on the family aspect, but the book does not fail.
In a strange way I caught myself thinking back to The Shining and how A History of Violence sort of completed the family aspect. How do families respond when their entire world is flipped upside down? Sadly A History of Violence will leave you sitting on that thought, but it goes a long ways to answer some of it with graphic scenes all around.
The violence is graphic, in a way where that makes you feel for the characters and what is happening. Eerily, it compels you to watch. This movie has actors that filled the parts they were cast in. Not one stands out from another. All are believable.
A History of Violence is an outstanding movie for those that care to watch it. If you want cheap thrills then I am sorry... Stealth has already flopped a month ago.