With a title like "A History of Violence" you can be pretty sure there is going to be some violent scenes. I thought the characters in this movie were well developed and believable. Well, ok, Ed Harris' scarred face might have been a little Hollywood over dramatization but it does provide his character's motivation. Also William Hurt shows up near the end of the film as a crime boss. I couldn't decide if he pulled it off or not. Perhaps my indecision means he did. There are two half-dressed steamy sex scenes and dozen dead bodies. I give it a thumbs up.
The movie sets the stage for a family man, Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) living the American Dream in a quite mid-west town. Until two murdering thugs cross his path and he is forced to deal with them. The incident garners regional if not national attention and the plot thickens as Tom's past comes back to haunt him. A side story in the film involves his son who is dealing with his own violence at school. It doesn't overpower the main plot and blends nicely. Tom's wife also has to deal with her husband's past and she is forced to accept him for it or reject him. I was only disappointed with the final scene. There was no dialog, just body language and gestures that show Tom's son and daughter accepting him back into the fold and we are left with Tom and his wife looking at each other. Did she finally accept him or not? You decide.