History Film / AHistoryOfViolence

6th Sep '17 9:31:23 PM TheWanderer
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The film stars Creator/ViggoMortensen as Tom Stall, a [[NiceGuy universally well-liked]] [[TheEveryman restaurant proprietor]] and [[HappilyMarried family man]] living in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, who is thrust into the spotlight after he kills two armed robbers who enter his diner and threaten his customers one night. This act wins him the admiration of the townsfolk, who hail him as a hero, but also the attention of Carl Fogarty, an [[TheIrishMob Irish mobster]] from Philadelphia, who shows up in town shortly afterwards insisting to anyone who will listen that Tom is not who he says he is. Fogarty asserts that Tom's real name is Joey Cusack, and that he's a [[RetiredBadass former enforcer]] for the mob who is living in Millbrook under an assumed name after maiming Fogarty, who has been looking for him for years to get revenge. The rest of the film is devoted to determining the truth of Fogarty's claims, as well as detailing the effects that the revelation that the man they've known for so many years may not be who he says he is have on Tom's wife and children.

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The film stars Creator/ViggoMortensen as Tom Stall, a [[NiceGuy universally well-liked]] [[TheEveryman restaurant proprietor]] and [[HappilyMarried family man]] living in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, who is thrust into the spotlight after he kills two armed robbers who enter his diner and threaten his customers one night. This act wins him the admiration of the townsfolk, who hail him as a hero, but also the attention of Carl Fogarty, an [[TheIrishMob Irish mobster]] from Philadelphia, who shows up in town shortly afterwards insisting to anyone who will listen that Tom is not who he says he is. Fogarty asserts that Tom's real name is Joey Cusack, and that he's a [[RetiredBadass [[RetiredMonster former enforcer]] for the mob who is living in Millbrook under an assumed name after maiming Fogarty, who has been looking for him for years to get revenge. The rest of the film is devoted to determining the truth of Fogarty's claims, as well as detailing the effects that the revelation that the man they've known for so many years may not be who he says he is have on Tom's wife and children.



* ActionSurvivor: Tom seems to be this at first, but is he?

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* ActionSurvivor: Tom seems to be this at first, but is he?he actually something darker?



* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Edie seems far more attracted to Tom when she finds out about his violent past, to the point of them having rough, desperate sex on the stairs. She doesn't seem proud of it, though.

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* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Edie seems far more attracted to Tom when she finds out about his potential violent past, to the point of them having rough, desperate sex on the stairs. She doesn't seem proud of it, though.



* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Tom is worried about the families of the two bullies his son beat up suing his family, but any decent lawyer could easily come up with a pattern of the two bullies harassing Jack, witnesses who could attest that the two bullies attacked him first in the hallway (watch the scene, both of them shoved him around first. Once from behind when he was completely unaware, and once more when he tried to leave), and that Jack tried several times to walk away. However it might level to simply mitigating circumstances depending on how the investigation go.

to:

* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Tom is worried about the families of the two bullies his son beat up suing his family, but any decent lawyer could easily come up with a pattern of the two bullies harassing Jack, witnesses who could attest that the two bullies attacked him first in the hallway (watch the scene, both of them shoved him around first. Once from behind when he was completely unaware, and once more when he tried to leave), and that Jack tried several times to walk away. However it might level to simply mitigating circumstances depending on how the investigation go. Tom's concern might also simply be the potential expense of being sued and [[spoiler:the fact that it might mean greater scrutiny for him, leading to his true identity being revealed.]]



* AxCrazy: This was Joey in a [[{{Pun}} nutshell]]; he [[spoiler: tore up Fogarty's face and blinded his left eye with '''barbed wire'''.]] Even other hardened criminals were afraid of him; they didn't call him "Crazy Fuckin' Joey" for no good reason.

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* AxCrazy: This was Joey in a [[{{Pun}} nutshell]]; he [[spoiler: tore up Fogarty's face and blinded his left eye with '''barbed wire'''.]] wire'''. Even other hardened criminals were afraid of him; they didn't call him "Crazy Fuckin' Joey" for no good reason.



* BecomingTheMask: Joe appears not to recognise Fogarty, and David Cronenberg suggested in the commentary that this is because he's bought into his role so much.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Tom is thought of as one of the nicest people in Millbrook; he's also clearly the most deadly. Possibly a deconstruction, as the film suggests that no 'nice' person could possibly be this competent at hand-to-hand combat. [[spoiler: Rather, the skill set comes from years of practice of associating with very unpleasant people, doing very unpleasant things.]]
** Also, Jack.

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* BecomingTheMask: Joe [[spoiler:Tom/Joey appears not to recognise Fogarty, Fogarty at first, and David Cronenberg suggested in the commentary that this is because he's bought into his role so much.
much.]]
* BewareTheNiceOnes: BewareTheNiceOnes:
**
Tom is thought of as one of the nicest people in Millbrook; he's also clearly the most deadly. Possibly a deconstruction, as the film suggests that no truly 'nice' person could possibly would be this competent and ruthless at hand-to-hand combat. [[spoiler: Rather, the skill set comes from years of practice of associating with very unpleasant people, doing very unpleasant things.]]
** Also, Jack. When he finally snaps and turns the table on the bullies, he opens up one very frightening can of whoop ass.



* CombatPragmatist: Tom. He can kill an armed man with his bare hands if he has to, but doesn't bother when there's a pot of coffee nearby.
* ContractOnTheHitman: The mob has one out on Joey, which makes life difficult for Tom. It's not for [[HitmanWithAHeart the usual reasons]], though - [[spoiler: Joey attacked Fogerty, a made man, apparently without provocation and has been on the run ever since.]]

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* CombatPragmatist: Tom. He can kill an armed man with his bare hands if he has to, but doesn't why bother to use your bare hands when there's a hot pot of coffee nearby.
nearby?
* ContractOnTheHitman: The mob has one out on Joey, which makes life difficult for Tom. It's not for [[HitmanWithAHeart the usual reasons]], though - [[spoiler: Joey [[spoiler:Joey attacked Fogerty, a made man, apparently without provocation and has been on the run ever since.]]



* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Played straight at first with Tom and Edie, who have a very passionate love life for a couple that's been married close to twenty years. Later subverted when, after she learns that her husband may have been a vicious criminal, Edie has even more passionate (if rough, and borderline violent) sex with him.

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* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Played straight at first with Tom and Edie, who have a very passionate pretty decent love life for a couple that's been married close to twenty years. Later subverted when, after she learns that her husband may have been a vicious criminal, Edie has even more passionate (if rough, and borderline violent) sex with him.



* HomeFieldAdvantage: {{Deconstructed|Trope}}. When murderous mobsters come knocking on your door, your house is just a house.

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* HomeFieldAdvantage: {{Deconstructed|Trope}}.{{Deconstructed|Trope}} and averted. When murderous mobsters come knocking on your door, your house is just a house.



* InTheBlood: The movie frequently toys with the question of whether violent behavior is InTheBlood or not.

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* InTheBlood: The movie frequently toys with the question of whether violent behavior is InTheBlood or not. It seems to have a hard time making up its mind about whether InTheBlood or TaughtByExperience is in effect, or if the two coexist together.



* TheMaidenNameDebate: Edie is furious that her last name is literally meaningless, as 'Stall' is just a false name picked at random by Tom.
* MuggingTheMonster: If the robbers had only known how dangerous Tom was...

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* TheMaidenNameDebate: Edie [[spoiler:Edie is furious that her last name is literally meaningless, as 'Stall' is just a false name picked at random by Tom.
Tom.]]
* MuggingTheMonster: MuggingTheMonster:
**
If the robbers had only known how dangerous Tom was...



** The bullies averted this earlier in the movie, however. They nearly got into a car accident with the pair of robbers, and the lead bully starts to go to say something to them, but then he gets a look at the two men and something he sees makes him just freeze and let them go by without a word. Judging by an exchange he has with the other bully, he was deeply freaked out by something he sensed about the two.
-->'''Sidekick Bully:''' Who the fuck was that?\\
'''Lead Bully:''' [scared and barely hiding it] I don't know. And I don't wanna know. [Drives off in the opposite direction at high speed]



* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Jack gives one of these to a JerkJock who had been making his life hell after he learns more about who his father might be. He ends up hospitalizing the poor [[AssholeVictim jackass]] as well as his father.
* NothingExcitingEverHappensHere: Doubly subverted / deconstructed; Millbrook is initially presented as idyllic precisely ''because'' [[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere nothing exciting ever happens there]]; when the bodies start piling up it's more upsetting and disturbing than it is exciting.

to:

* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Jack gives one of these to a JerkJock who had been making his life hell after he learns more about who his father might be. He ends up hospitalizing the poor [[AssholeVictim jackass]] just as well as his father.
Joey could have.
* NothingExcitingEverHappensHere: Doubly subverted / deconstructed; subverted[=/=]deconstructed; Millbrook is initially presented as idyllic precisely ''because'' [[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere nothing exciting ever happens there]]; when the bodies start piling up it's more upsetting and disturbing than it is exciting.



* [[spoiler: RayOfHopeEnding: Tom manages to kill all the mobsters, yet it's unknown whether he'll be able keep his family together. Still, the small gestures they show of giving him some food when he enters, rather than ignoring him indicate acceptance, so there's hope.]]

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* [[spoiler: RayOfHopeEnding: Tom [[spoiler:Tom manages to kill all the mobsters, yet it's unknown whether he'll be able keep his family together. Still, the small gestures they show of giving him some food when he enters, rather than ignoring him indicate acceptance, so there's hope.]]



* RetiredBadass: Tom[=/=]Joey - maybe, or maybe not.

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* RetiredBadass: Tom[=/=]Joey - maybe, RetiredBadass[=/=]RetiredMonster: This is the major question of the story. Is Tom who he says he is, or maybe not.is he really one these tropes?



* SuddenlyAlwaysKnewThat: Tom, to everyone's surprise knows Kung Fu. The improbability of this given Tom's stated background is {{lampshade}}d by Carl:
-->'''Carl''': "Ask him, Edie - how come he's so good at killing people?
* ThatManIsDead: Joey Cusack, mob hitman - possibly.

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* SuddenlyAlwaysKnewThat: Tom, to everyone's surprise surprise, knows Kung Fu.how to fight and how to use a gun, and can do so calmly, efficiently and very lethally against a pair of murderous criminals. The improbability of this given Tom's stated background is {{lampshade}}d by Carl:
-->'''Carl''': "Ask Ask him, Edie - how come he's so good at killing people?
* ThatManIsDead: [[spoiler:Tom Stall thought he made a complete break with his past as Joey Cusack, mob hitman - possibly.as he eventually explains to Edie... but it turns out Joey ''will'' come to the surface under the right circumstances, and the events of the film give Joey plenty of chances to do just that.]]



* TooDumbToLive: Carl Fogerty is so fucking stupid, you'd think Tom took out a double scoop of his brains in addition to blinding him in one eye. Show up at the house of someone you know is extremely dangerous with only two other men? Check. Tell one of your men to approach within an arm's length of said extremely dangerous person in order to take him prisoner? Check. Turn your back on this dangerous person, assuming everything is going to go according to plan and he won't resist being taken captive? Check. Lose both your mooks because you're too stupid to think someone won't fight for their life? Check. Get extremely lucky and wound your enemy, gain the advantage, then run your mouth making sure you get the last word, giving the man's son all the time in the world to walk up behind you completely unnoticed and blow you in two with a double-barreled shotgun? Check. Fucking A, Carl. It's amazing your own organization didn't get fed up with stupidity and drown you in a toilet years ago.

to:

* TooDumbToLive: Carl Fogerty is so fucking stupid, you'd think Tom Joey took out a double scoop of his brains in addition to blinding him in one eye. Show up at the house of someone you know is extremely dangerous with only two other men? Check. Tell one of your men to approach within an arm's length of said extremely dangerous person in order to take him prisoner? Check. Turn your back on this dangerous person, assuming everything is going to go according to plan and he won't resist being taken captive? Check. Lose both your mooks because you're too stupid to think someone won't fight for their life? Check. Get extremely lucky and wound your enemy, gain the advantage, then run your mouth making sure you get the last word, giving the man's son all the time in the world to walk up behind you completely unnoticed and blow you in two with a double-barreled shotgun? Check. Fucking A, Carl. It's amazing your own organization didn't get fed up with stupidity and drown you in a toilet years ago.



'''Tom:''' *sighs* [[spoiler: I should've killed you back in Philly.]]

to:

'''Tom:''' *sighs* [[spoiler: I [[spoiler:I should've killed you back in Philly.]]



* WireFu: Averted. Tom Stall is obviously extremely well-versed in hand to hand combat, but he sticks entirely to BoringButPractical moves. They're very bloody practical. Cronenberg bloody practical.

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* WireFu: Averted. Tom Stall Joey is obviously extremely well-versed in hand to hand combat, but he sticks entirely to BoringButPractical moves. They're very bloody practical. Cronenberg bloody practical.
29th Aug '17 6:57:18 PM nombretomado
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* TakeThat: When Creator/DavidCronenberg was asked about the "obvious influence" of Shyamalan on ''AHistoryOfViolence'', Cronenberg simply responded "I HATE that guy! Next question."

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* TakeThat: When Creator/DavidCronenberg was asked about the "obvious influence" of Shyamalan on ''AHistoryOfViolence'', ''A History of Violence'', Cronenberg simply responded "I HATE that guy! Next question."
3rd Jul '17 2:28:30 PM Mdumas43073
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[[quoteright:210:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/History_Of_Violence_001_4284.jpg]]

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[[quoteright:210:http://static.[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/History_Of_Violence_001_4284.jpg]]
org/pmwiki/pub/images/img_1038.JPG]]
13th Jan '17 6:35:15 PM bt8257
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* HomeFieldAdvantage: {{Deconstructed}}. When murderous mobsters come knocking on your door, your house is just a house.

to:

* HomeFieldAdvantage: {{Deconstructed}}.{{Deconstructed|Trope}}. When murderous mobsters come knocking on your door, your house is just a house.



* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunfight: Tom just unloaded four bullets into Billy's chest. What his companion decide to do? Pull a knife and [[TooDumbToLive stab Tom in the foot]]. RealityEnsues when Tom pulls the trigger at point blank range from the robber's head.

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* NeverBringAKnifeToAGunfight: NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight: Tom just unloaded four bullets into Billy's chest. What his companion decide to do? Pull a knife and [[TooDumbToLive stab Tom in the foot]]. RealityEnsues when Tom pulls the trigger at point blank range from the robber's head.
31st Dec '16 10:28:20 AM kyeo
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Added DiffLines:

* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Edie seems far more attracted to Tom when she finds out about his violent past, to the point of them having rough, desperate sex on the stairs. She doesn't seem proud of it, though.
28th Dec '16 9:04:17 PM trixus
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* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Tom is worried about the families of the two bullies his son beat up suing his family, but any decent lawyer could easily come up with a pattern of the two bullies harassing Jack, witnesses who could attest that the two bullies attacked him first in the hallway (watch the scene, both of them shoved him around first. Once from behind when he was completely unaware, and once more when he tried to leave), and that Jack tried several times to walk away. Any case the families brought would be thrown out, and Tom actually has grounds to both press charges against the bullies ''and'' sue their families, because they were the aggressors. Additionally, he also has grounds to sue the school district for not stepping in to stop the bullying.

to:

* ArtisticLicenseLaw: Tom is worried about the families of the two bullies his son beat up suing his family, but any decent lawyer could easily come up with a pattern of the two bullies harassing Jack, witnesses who could attest that the two bullies attacked him first in the hallway (watch the scene, both of them shoved him around first. Once from behind when he was completely unaware, and once more when he tried to leave), and that Jack tried several times to walk away. Any case However it might level to simply mitigating circumstances depending on how the families brought would be thrown out, and Tom actually has grounds to both press charges against the bullies ''and'' sue their families, because they were the aggressors. Additionally, he also has grounds to sue the school district for not stepping in to stop the bullying.investigation go.
22nd Nov '16 2:02:46 PM FromtheWordsofBR
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Holds the distinction of being the penultimate Hollywood film released on [[UsefulNotes/{{VCR}} VHS]]. Contrary to what some sources say, it actually wasn't the last--that honor actually goes to a Disney Movie Club VHS issue of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}''.

to:

Holds the distinction of being one of the penultimate final Hollywood film films released on [[UsefulNotes/{{VCR}} VHS]]. Contrary to what some sources say, it actually wasn't the last--that honor actually goes later went to a rare Disney Movie Club VHS print of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'', and now goes to a very rare issue of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}''.
''Film/{{Eragon}}''.
4th Aug '16 6:10:31 PM SunGuyThe3rd
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Added DiffLines:

* WouldHurtAChild: A little girl gets shot by one of the crooks at the beginning. Given [[BodyHorror the consequences of violence]] in this film, it's a good thing [[GoryDiscretionShot the camera cuts away at that moment.]]
21st Jul '16 9:58:29 AM Taskmaster123
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Added DiffLines:

* TooDumbToLive: Carl Fogerty is so fucking stupid, you'd think Tom took out a double scoop of his brains in addition to blinding him in one eye. Show up at the house of someone you know is extremely dangerous with only two other men? Check. Tell one of your men to approach within an arm's length of said extremely dangerous person in order to take him prisoner? Check. Turn your back on this dangerous person, assuming everything is going to go according to plan and he won't resist being taken captive? Check. Lose both your mooks because you're too stupid to think someone won't fight for their life? Check. Get extremely lucky and wound your enemy, gain the advantage, then run your mouth making sure you get the last word, giving the man's son all the time in the world to walk up behind you completely unnoticed and blow you in two with a double-barreled shotgun? Check. Fucking A, Carl. It's amazing your own organization didn't get fed up with stupidity and drown you in a toilet years ago.
15th Jul '16 9:01:32 AM Taskmaster123
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Added DiffLines:

* GroinAttack: The first move Jack makes when he finally snaps from being bullied is to attempt an eighty-yard field goal with one of the asshole's balls, and ''he fucking splits the uprights.'' It's worth noting that afterwards, that bully is completely out of the action. A solid groin attack is ''incapacitating.''
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