"A History of Violence" stars Viggo Mortensen as a pillar of a small town community who runs a diner and lives a happy and quiet life with his wife (Maria Bello) and two children. But their lives are forever changed when Mortensen thwarts an attempted robbery and is lauded as a hero by the media, attracting the attention of some mobsters (William Hurt and Ed Harris) who believe he is someone else.."
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A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

movie trailer (quicktime)

NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Kristin. who says... "...this movie was incredible as was the acting..."

The movie opens with two men checking out of a motel. It is the middle day but it looks like they have been up all night. The older man (Goat) tells the younger one (Pup) to pull the car up to the front desk while he checks them out. (Sorry, can't remember if they even had names so I will call them Goat and Pup). Pup drives the car up to the office (about 50 yards away from their room) and waits. Goat comes back to the car, mentions that check out went fine, but had some trouble with the maid. He then orders Pup to get some water from the cooler in the back of the office for their drive west. Pup takes an empty milk jug and heads toward the office. As he is heading to the water cooler, the camera pans behind him and you see a man's body on the floor lying in a pool of blood, and then you see a woman's (the maid's) body also in a pool of blood. He seems unfazed by this, but suddenly hears a noise in the adjoining room. A little girl comes out of the room holding a stuffed toy and she is whimpering and looking at the woman's body – presumably her mother's. Pup starts to comfort her as he reaches behind him where he has a gun tucked in his pants. You see him aim the gun at her and hear a gun shot and a little girl screams.

The scene cuts to a little girl, Sarah Stall, in bed screaming. Her father, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) comes in to comfort her. She tells him she had a bad dream about monsters being in her bedroom. Her dad tells her that there is no such thing as monsters. Then her brother, Jack Stall comes in the room to find out what was going on, followed by her mother, Edie Stall (Maria Bello). They all comfort the little girl.

The next morning everyone is having breakfast together. The son and father seem to have a tense relationship where the son keeps refusing the father's efforts to serve him breakfast. The father asks his wife for a ride in to town as his pick-up truck is still not working. The wife drives him in and drops him off at Stall's Diner. His cook is already there, as is a customer. They are having a discussion about the craziest girls they ever dated. Tom smiles and acknowledges them but does not participate in the discussion.

Later that evening, Edie picks him up, says the kids are away and she has something planned for him. We cut to a bedroom with Tom sitting on the bed trying to get comfortable. He starts to take off his pants when Edie comes out of the bathroom in a cheerleader outfit. She says that since they weren't teenagers together they can pretend now. They joke about her parents being in the other room and needing to be quiet. They fool around a bit and then Tom goes down on her and she wraps around to go down on him. At this point several people in the audience gasp, pretty steamy scene. We then see them lying in bed together and Tom saying he knew right when Edie loved him as he could see it in her eyes.

So, more scenes filling out the family dynamic and intense love between Edie and Tom. Worth mentioning is that Jack, the son, is something of an outcast in his high school and one of the popular boys threatens to beat him up after Jack makes a miraculous catch to cause the bully's team to lose a P.E. baseball game. Jack stops him uses his wry sense of humor, but the bully still clearly hates this kid.

Later Jack and a girl friend are sharing a joint outside the post office on the main drag. They talk about how pointless it is that kids in high school go cruising and Jack depresses her by talking about how soon they will grow up and enter loveless marriages and hold down boring 9 to 5 jobs. The bully from before is cruising past with a buddy and sees Jack. He starts to pull an illegal U-turn to go beat Jack up but a car gets in his way. He yells at the guys in this car but stops short as the guy in the passenger seat (Pup from the first scene) gives him a rather vicious look. Now we follow Goat and Pup driving through the town with Pup complaining about these tiny little Midwest towns and how they have no money. Goat says he knows how to fix that.

Cut to an evening at Stall's diner, two kids are at a booth sharing an ice cream float, the waitress is joking with a customer and the cook at the grill. Goat and Pup enter and Goat orders a cup of coffee. Tom assessing the situation says sorry, we are closed. Goat then demands a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. Tom relents and pours some coffee as the waitress goes to cut some pie. Tom takes the pie from her and tells her she can leave for the evening. The whole diner is looking tensely at Goat and Pup as we watch the waitress leave. When she gets to the door. Pup stops her and locks the door. She is trembling and looks at Tom for help. Tom says they don't have a lot of money at the diner, but Goat and Pup are welcome to it. Pup then shoves the waitress against a stack of chairs by the door and pulls out a gun. Goat takes out his gun and says something like there was no question they would get the money as Pup starts to force himself on the waitress.

Tom, still holding the coffee pot from before, sees that these guys are planning something far worse than robbing his diner, swings the coffee pot and hits Goat in the side of the head and jumps the counter, grabbing for the gun dislodged from Goat's hand. Pup turns at this commotion and aims at Tom, who has since recovered Goat's gun. Tom shoots and kills Pup. Goat grabs a knife from his boot and stabs Tom in the foot. Tom then shoots Goat in the head.

The camera lingers on Goat's blown apart head a second or two and then cut to police interviewing the folks in the diner when this happened. Everyone saying that Tom saved their lives.

Now we are seeing Tom in the hospital with his foot bandaged. He is flipping through news reports of his heroic actions. He is clearly uncomfortable with all this attention. Edie comes in to take him home and news crews are waiting. They go inside the house and Edie mentions that one news crew is still sitting there. It is a black Cadillac (or something similar, not good with cars).

Next day, Tom goes to the diner, which is now packed with customers. Everyone cheers Tom. Edie comes by to help with the new rush of business. The door opens and three men walk in wearing sunglasses and dark suits, clearly not from around here. Two sit at the counter. One of them, Fogarty (Ed Harris) asks Tom for some coffee. And when Tom drops it off says "Thank you, Joey!". Several exchanges of this kind and then Fogarty takes off his sunglasses. The right side of his face is badly scarred and he has a glass eye. He says maybe this will refresh your memory, Joey, you removed my eye with a strip of barbed wire. Fogarty talks about how Joey Cusack is a mob boy from back in Philly. Tom is confused but Fogarty keeps calling him Joey from back in Philly and is not dissuaded despite Tom's protests. The three Philly guys leave and Edie calls Sam, the elderly police office. Sam pulls the guys over as they are leaving town and tells them not to come back as this town protects their own. Sam then meets with Edie and Tom and asks about this Joey character and why these guys think it is Tom. Tom is baffled by this and says it is a simple case of mistaken identity. Sam mentions that he can not find any records on Joey Cusack, but there is a Richie Cusack in Philly who is reported to be a mob boss.

Next morning, Tom walk to the diner. He is sitting having a cup of coffee when he sees the black Cadillac go by. He freaks out and calls Edie, who is just waking up. He tells her to grab the shot gun, the guys from the diner are coming to their house. Cut between scenes of Tom running home, limping because of the knife wound to the foot and Edie dropping shot gun shells on the floor. Tom finally gets there and Edie is standing opposite of the front door with a shot gun aimed at the front door. Her and Tom hug and Tom takes the gun from Edie and puts it on the coffee table. Sarah comes downstairs, talking about going shopping for shoes and Edie takes her upstairs to get ready. Cut to the kitchen and Jack is sitting there with a what the %^&#? look on his face. Tom says he was worried about the mobsters heading this way and Jack wonders why he would run all the way home if they got the wrong guy.

Edie and Sarah are shopping. Edie finds a great pair of shoes and turns to have Sarah pick out a pair when she realizes Sarah isn't with her. She runs out of the store screaming for Sarah and sees Fogarty sitting on a bench. He points in front of him and Sarah is there, looking at the toy store window. Sarah tells Fogarty that he has the wrong guy and Tom is not Joey. She then tells him to stay the hell away from her family. When they get home, Edie tells Tom about Fogarty being at the shopping center. Tom gets worried, but Edie says she handled it by telling Fogarty off and filing a restraining order. Tom does not look comforted, but says nothing.

Jack and his girl friend from before are walking through the halls of their high school, when the bully comes up to Jack and asks if his big hero father is ashamed to have such a coward for a son and pushes Jack. Jack looks angry but does nothing. Bully says "say something funny now, coward." Jack turns and then beats the crap out of bully.

Cut to Stall kitchen, Jack is sitting at the table when Tom comes home. He yells at Jack for getting suspended and says we don't solve our problems with others by hitting them. Jack says, no, in this family we shoot them. Tom slaps him and Jack storms out.

Edie and Tom are talking when the black Cadillac pulls up. They both go outside and Fogarty is there with his two goons. Goon #1 gets out of the car, pushing Jack in front of him. Edie screams for her son and Fogarty says he will make a trade. Joey comes with them back to Philly and Jack gets to go free. Tom agrees, and Fogarty lets Jack go. Tom tells Edie and Jack to get inside the house. They run in, Edie sobbing and heading upstairs with her children. Fogarty asks Tom to step closer. Tom moves a few steps. Fogarty says no, a little closer. Tom moves forward. We can see Edie in the upstairs window crying. Goon #1 draws a gun and steps next to Tom. Fogarty says something like, now get in the car, Joey. And Tom suddenly grabs and breaks Goon #1's arm and smashes his nose into his head repeatedly. Tom grabs now dead Goon #1's gun and shots Goon #2. Fogarty takes a shot and hits Tom in the shoulder causing Tom to drop the gun. Tom starts to crawl towards the fallen gun, but Fogarty beats him to it. Fogarty is now standing over Tom and asks if he has anything to say. Tom says "I should have killed you back in Philly." Fogarty says "yes, Joey, you should have" and cocks his gun. You hear a shot and then Tom/Joey is covered in blood and bits of flesh. Tom looks up and Jack is standing there with the shotgun from before. Tom hugs Jack. [In the interest of continuity, I will keep calling him Tom, although at this point we know it is Joey].

Now we see Tom in the hospital with his shoulder bandaged. Edie comes into the room and demands the truth about who Tom is as she can not believe that a peaceful, diner owning family man would know how to kill men that quickly and violently. Tom tells her he was once a mob guy in Philly but decided to change his ways. He went to the desert, killed Joey and became Tom. Edie runs to the bathroom and throws up. When she comes out she asks if he is schizoid or split personality. Tom says he thought he killed Joey.

We see Tom taking a cab back from the hospital to his house. No one is there to greet him. So Tom goes outside to fix his pick-up in an obvious attempt to keep things the way they were instead of the way they have become. Sam pulls up and asks to have a word with Tom. Tom invites him inside. As they are sitting down, Edie comes in. Sam looks at her and says maybe him and Tom can have a talk another time. Tom says no, and Edie says she will stay since she is interested in what Sam wants to talk about. It is clear that Edie no longer trusts Tom and is incredibly angry and betrayed by him. Sam says – these mob guys are a secretive bunch and tend to stay hidden from public view; he has a hard time believing that they would expose themselves like this unless they were sure they got the right guy. Edie stares hard at Tom, waiting to see what he will say. Tom stays quiet. Edie speaks up, saying "Sam, you have too much time on your hands." Sam leaves, but does not look convinced.

Tom and Edie start to argue and he slaps her. She runs up the stairs and he chases her, grabbing her and pulling her down by the ankle. Just when it looks like he’s going to get even more violent, they kiss intensely. He pulls off her underwear and they have sex on the stairs. The only nudity is part of Tom’s buttocks, but the whole scene straddles the boundary between sex and violence. Afterwards, Tom is sleeping alone downstairs on the living room couch when the phone rings. It’s his brother Richie who says they have unfinished business. He says either Tom can come to Philly or he will come visit Tom in Indiana.

Tom arrives in Philly and meets one of Richie's men in a bar. The guy asks "Are you Joey or Tom?" And Tom answers "Joey." The guy then drives Joey to Richie's house as Joey coolly notes how nice the neighborhood is, how nice the front gates are and how grand the mansion is. The two go inside Richie's mansion and there are two other armed men there. Tom is frisked and then taken in to see Richie, who has Goon #3 and Goon #4 standing in the back of the room. [This scene and William Hurt are fantastic, you should go see it for yourself]. Richie says how angry he is with his brother Joey for not ever sending him word about where he was or how he was doing and Joey says that even though they are brothers, he thought Richie would choose the business first. Richie then talks about how Joey was nuts and truly a violent SOB, but how they are still brothers. He then mentions how Joey ripped out one of their guy's eyes with barbed wire and how this cost Richie his sure shot at becoming boss, and how it took him a long time to earn back trust to get to where he is today. Joey asks what he can do to make it better and Richie says "you can die" and turns his swivel chair around. Goon #3 approaches with wire tensed in his hand, and Joey sensing his approach, throws his hands to his neck in time to catch the wire. The two struggle and Joey breaks free and knocks Goon #3 unconscious. Joey and Goon #4 struggle as Richie reaches in his drawer and pulls out a gun. Joey shots Goon #4 as Richie starts shooting at Joey. Joey manages to get outside of the office and Richie looks around dumbfounded at how Joey managed to get away. Goon #5 comes in as Richie kills unconscious Goon #3 for messing up a perfect set up. Richie and Goon #5 head out to look for Joey. The front door is open and Richie goes out, only to have the door shut on him. Richie is all 'what the hell is going on' as he reaches into his pocket for his keys. He drops his key when he hears a shot from inside the house and as he is bending down, the door opens. It is Joey, who shoots Richie in the head.

Tom goes to the back of the mansion where there is a lake and washes the blood off him, his clothes, and then kneels in the water.

Cut back to the Stall's kitchen. Edie, Jack and Sarah are eating dinner. No one is talking. The door opens and Tom slinks in. No one says anything. Tom goes to sit at the kitchen table. No one says anything. More silence and then Sarah gets up and gets him a plate. More silence. Jack passes the roast. Tom looks up at Edie, and she slowly raises her head. She is crying, but Tom can see from her eyes that she still loves him. THE END.

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