“A history of violence” is a film which presents a world of “monsters” that has a presence which is not felt until the “monsters” emerge into action. The film focuses on the necessity of violence and the manner in which it destroys and in the same time saves humanity. The whole film concentrates on the double identity of the world. It is the classic theme: a fight between good and evil.
The question which Cronenberg’s film raised is whether or not “the violent instinct is necessarily an evil” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Violence_(film)). The main character from “A history of violence”, Tom Stall (actor Viggo Mortensen), is a tender family man, very in love with his wife. He is attacked in his dinner by two perpetrators which he eventually kills.
He becomes a hero but in the same time his hidden past is starting to reveal. It is revealed that Tom ran away from the instinct of violence but this instinct from which he ran, in the end saved his life. He knew how to respond to violence with violence. This is a message to a world in witch violence seems most present and emphasizes that in this kind of world nobody can survive without the instinct of violence. Thus the human nature becomes dual; it is divided between love and hate.
It is a history of violence because the movie presents: the past of Tom Stall who used to work for the mob, his name was Joey Cusack, but gave up because he didn’t want to be on that side of the society, then the present witch presents Tom as a peaceful, family guy who now fights to solve his past issues in order to protect his dear family, and the future which is predicted by Tom’s teenage sun Jack who is aggressed by bullies at school and he always avoided fighting them., this meaning that violence will never cease to be a real mean of surviving.
Tom is a character who didn’t enjoy killing, in spite of this he is forced to kill. Violence is needed in order to keep on living. He hides his past from his family. He struggles to hide his violent side. Significant are the words uttered by a stranger regarding Tom: “you are trying so hard to be this other guy, it’s painful to watch”.
No matter how much Tom tries to hide the inhuman side it arises when it is needed. His power to fight with the perpetrators emerges from somewhere deep and apparently can not be controlled. It is a question whether or not human monsters are born or trained to be violent.
It is clear that humans are built from two parts: the violent one and peaceful one. History demonstrated that the violent part was not at all absent. It is a constant interior struggle to balance violence and peace. It can never be one without the other. Peace was always obtained with the help of violence, and tranquility was broken by violence.
Tom is a character who hides his past. He became a family man after he escaped from the mob. These facts made him in the eyes of his community a man with double identity.
The community came to know a side of Toms’ that they were never aware of. During the plot Tom mutates, he turns from good to bad and vice versa. People are able to change, a different character is born, and new personality traits are formed as people grow up. A person identity is important because it places a person into society. Tom is Joey, Joey is Tom, they are one and the same person, one is from the past and one is the present, those two persons have to coexist in the end, it can not be one without the other because both are part of the same person.
There is something dark and mysterious in every one of us. There are hidden parts of the human personality that can get revealed and shock everybody.
There are various interpretations of David Cronenberg’s movie. It is a depiction of the long history of violence and its inheritance from generation to generation. Violence was and is used as a tool for settling disputes, it’s a “Darwinian evolution” in which stronger organism replace the weaker once. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Violence_ (film)).
International Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399146/usercomments