A History of Violence
History of Violence
Director: David Cronenberg
Producer: Chris Bender
J.C. Spink
Toby Emmerich
Writer(s): Josh Olson
Release Date: September 23, 2005
Running Time: 96 mins
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A History of Violence is a 2005 film about a restaurant owner who becomes a hero after killing two criminals.


Tom Stall is a local restaurant owner in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. One night two men attempt to kill one of the employees and rob the restaurant. Tom deftly kills both robbers, and his actions make him an overnight celebrity. He is soon visited by scarred gangster Carl Fogarty who alleges that Tom is actually a gangster named Joey Cusack, who used to run with him in the local Irish Mob in Philadelphia. Tom denies these accusations and claims he has never been to Philadelphia, but Fogarty continues to stalk the Stall family. Under pressure from Fogarty and his newfound fame, Tom's relationships with his wife Edie, teenage son Jack, and young daughter Sarah become strained.

After an argument with Tom over the use of violence, Jack runs off and is caught by Fogarty. With Jack as his hostage, Fogarty and his men go to the Stall house and demand that "Joey" return with them to Philadelphia. Tom kills Fogarty's men with the same precision he used against the robbers, while Jack kills Fogarty with a shotgun in defense of his father. At the hospital, Tom shocks Edie by admitting that he is actually Joey Cusack, and that he ran away from Philadelphia to escape his criminal past and start a new life. This furthers the tensions in their marriage, and after an argument they have violent sex.

Tom receives a call from his brother Richie Cusack, who also demands his return to Philadelphia. After traveling to Philadelphia and confronting his brother, Tom learns that the other mobsters whom he had offended in Philadelphia took out their frustrations on Richie, preventing him from moving up in the criminal organization. Tom offers to make peace, but Richie orders his men to kill him. Tom defends himself and kills Richie and the guards.

Tom returns home, but the atmosphere is tense and silent as the Stalls sit around the dinner table. The fate of his marriage and the future of his life as Tom Stall is uncertain, but Jack and Sarah indicate their acceptance of their father by setting a plate for him and passing him some food.


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The film was shot in Ontario, Canada.

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