History of Violence, A

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a family man living a quiet life in the small town of Millbrook. His life consists of running a local diner and supporting his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), and their two children. His American dream is shattered when two evil men attempt to rob his diner and threaten to kill a waitress. In a moment of terror, Tom responds with courageous resolve to take the bad guys out, which he does with shocking and bloody efficiency. He suddenly becomes a local hero. Unfortunately, he also draws attention from Philadelphia mobsters who believe that Tom is actually Joey Cusack, a former Mafia hit man. A trio of mobsters invades Millbrook and terrorizes Tom’s family. One of the mobsters, Carl Fogaty (Ed Harris), asks Tom’s wife why her husband is so good at killing people. Could it be that Tom has a past that he has left behind?

The gratuitous violence in this film is both shocking and disturbing, especially the lack of remorse displayed when a scared little girl is shot at point blank range and later when one man shoots his brother in the head. Several men are shot in the face, and the cameras let the audience see the results. Once the violence begins, viewers are also assaulted by nonstop obscene language and profanity. All that aside, the sexuality alone would give this film a low negative rating. In one scene, Tom’s wife puts on a cheerleader outfit and lifts her skirt to show her underwear. Within moments, the couple is performing unconventional sex on each other. And following an argument, Tom tackles his wife and attempts to rape her, though she goes from victim to excited participant. Later viewers see the full frontal nudity of his wife. Preview strongly recommends avoiding this movie.

Preview Reviewer: Henry J. Rogers
New Line

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (11) times – mild (damn 1); strong (-sshole 2, p-ssy 1, c-ck 1, b-tch 4, SOB 2)

Obscene Language: Many (21) times – moderate (s-cking 1), strong (f-word, 12, s-word, 8)

Profanity: Many (11) times – moderate (good L 1), strong (JC 1, J 4, GD 5)

Violence: Many times – mild (one teen pushes another in a high-school locker room, husband and wife fight on stairs, man slaps a woman and pushes her down, father slaps son across the face); moderate (man kills two motel workers – murder not shown but bloodied bodies visible on the floor, three boys fight in school hallway with blood spurting, man hits another man with a coffee pot and shoots him and another man with a gun; strong (little girl shot at point blank range with impact not shown, man kills two men with a gun with blood spurting and wounds visible, teenager shoots man from behind with blood spurting everywhere, many dislocates shoulder of another man with noises of bones snapping, man shoots five men including his brother whom he shoots in the head)

Sex: Several times – mild (couple kisses in car); moderate (man grabs a woman’s breast); strong (man pulls his wife’s underwear down and performs unconventional sex, man and woman simultaneously perform unconventional sex, man pulls his wife’s underwear down on the stairs and has sex with her)

Nudity: Several times – mild (woman pulls up her cheerleading skirt with panties visible); moderate (man with pants down is shown from behind); strong (woman shown with full frontal nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times – mild (two teens smoking, man drinking in bar)

Other: None

Running Time: 94 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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