History of Violence (2005)

June 30, 2007 at 7:33 pm (Entertainment, Movies, Reviews)

Can you escape your past? and if you managed to .. Can your past hunts you?

‘ Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is 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 Stall thwarts an attempted robbery and is lauded as a hero by the media, attracting the attention of some mobsters (William Hurt, Ed Harris) who believe he is someone else.’… From Tribute.ca

The movie starts with 2 outlaws, who prey on the weak and would do anything for money’s sake and for a piece of action. 2 characters that you would hate/despise and wouldn’t care about.. Turning to Tom’s family,, It starts like a dream , the American dream, where everything is lovely and sweet, the old Cliched romance and family life which can be irritating sometimes. I found the story interesting form different angles… Both Protagonists and villains angles. The only problem that I had with the movies is the fact that it seemed dubbed although it’s an english movie ,,, I wouldn’t mind if I’m watching a Japanese movie with an english track ,,, but with an english track that seems out of order ,, I wasn’t satisfied. I admired Viggo’s act, the way he’s eyes were telling a lot and the transition between different scenes ,, He differently deserved that Oscar’s nomination … Ed Harris as always was enjoyable to watch..

The soundtrack was OK. with few tracks that I enjoyed. I think the reason with the slow pacing soundtrack is the fact that the movie was annoyingly slow sometimes so Action-Thriller ,, you might not like this one if you are not fond of Drama as a genre.

A interesting movie to watch with good twist , David Cronenberg … I finished watching the movie with a question in my mind; Is Violence inherited? … Watch the movie and tell me what you’re answer will be ??

My Verdict: 8/10 



  1. "GreY' said,

    Awesome movie , this movie is based on comic book ! thats why its kinda graphic at times… i liked the movie … if you have seen the uncensored edition the ‘love’ scene is the best part of the movie i guess !…………………..:p

    as for the q : no we dont inherit violence …

  2. The D man said,

    I really liked this movie. Keeps you wondering if the past matters or not.
    As per your question, violence is not inherited… BUT it can increase the chances of the child being violent. You see, women are born with two X chromosomes, men on the other hand are born with an X and a Y. In rare cases, a man might be born with one X chromosome and two Y chromosomes, thus having an XYY combination. In that case, the man tends to be genetically violent. A study was conducted few years ago on criminals who were trailed for violent crimes, oddly enough the study showed that most had an extra Y chromosome (XYY). Think of it this way, the Y defines whether the offspring is a male, the increase of Ys would mean he has two chromosomes pertaining to a male… thus making him a more violent version of a man.

    With that said, I don’t like maria bello.

  3. Hessa said,


    I though I posted a reply to your comment, but I guess I didn’t. The movie was good and I think That Viggo did deserve the Oscar Nod, he did a fine job. Well, I did watch the ‘Uncut’ version, and I’m not going to comment on these ‘X’ marked scenes as I don’t feel that they add anything to the movie. I’m not comfortable discussing them as well.

    The D man:
    I totally agree with you ‘D’. I found your input very informative. I heard about that syndrome, but only superficially as part of my course. I didn’t look at it but that study you mention is a very interesting one. Were the subjects convicted on violent crimes in general or did they categorize the crimes in their severity like Homicide, hate crime and so on? I will look it up. BTW; I hate Maria Bello as well, her presence was pointless.

  4. The D man said,

    I just did some googling, turns out it’s called the “criminal chromosome” and the study was conducted on some scottish prisoners, 4% of them had the criminal chromosome.. and that’s really high since only 0.1% of men have the criminal chromosome. This study was disproved by many since it was considered unethical (judging a person by his genes). Moreover, some criminals were getting a lesser verdict just by having an extra Y. Google “scottish study criminal chromosome” for more info.
    Oh and it only referred to them as “criminals” not sure which category of criminals.

    Last, since everyone is talking about the “X marked scenes” all i can say is; they were unnecessary and UNCALLED for! Basically as you said “didn’t add anything to the movie.” I guess the producers wanted to add the “nudity” part to the MPAA rating description, a marketing gimmick. Pfft.

  5. Hessa said,

    The D man:

    Thanks for the information. I did some search as well, Interestingly, Men who have an extra Y, were not found to have any obvious physical traits compared to their peers. It was reported that they are taller but it was not proven. One thing to be noted is that the syndrome is not inherited, it occurs randomly during cell division. In 1960s/1970s, theories about criminal behavior were linked to this syndrome, TV series & movies helped exaggerating the fiction tale. Apparently, scientists believe that men with an extra Y, are violent but didn’t and still unable to prove it. Even if they did, we cannot depend on one study to prove a theory… It depends on the study type, number of participants, type of tests being used and so many factors that need to considered. I checked the Scottish study you mentioned. The number of inmate/volunteers is too low for a trail/study like this, we don’t know if bias was incorporated. The fact that there are no enough qualified studies available means that we don’t have a link between having an extra Y & violence.

    Why did they find it unethical? Well, yes we do suspect things, but that’s how we can find a cure for a disease, how we prove a theory and that’s how science/ technology advance, unless they meant using criminals only as trail subjects.

    About the ‘X Rated’ scenes; I agree with you, as I didn’t find that they added anything to the story. If you watched the movie without them, you will not notice the difference. Grey mentioned in an earlier post that the movie is based on a comic book, and maybe that’s the reason why these scenes were included to be faithful to the comic book!!

    Thanks for such a productive discussion, ‘D Man’.

  6. The D man said,

    Alright, the Scottish study turned out to be “inaccurate and obsolete”… In fact, they did another study and proved that the conviction rate was the same amongst XY and XYY subjects. I guess it doesn’t have a strong connection to violence. They say XYY men are less intelligent.. But I don’t know, something about that doesn’t make me feel comfortable… “Hey you’re an XYY male, therefore you must be less intelligent than the average XY male.”
    Check this source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/47%2CXYY_syndrome
    So it’s something that happens as a result of an “error” or mutation that causes the extra Y. Never knew that. There aren’t a lot of resources about this syndrome on the internet so I asked around about the criminal chromosome and its hereditary characteristics turns out to be a myth as you previously mentioned.

    I agree with what you said about scientific studies. I found so many weird studies that did not make sense at all but somehow the data seemed to match.
    The increasing rate of XYY in the Scottish prison for the mentally ill might be interpreted differently. One might argue that since XYY are “less intelligent” they are more prone to being uneducated thus it’s easier for them to end up in a prison; having nothing to do with being violent.

    By the way out of curiosity, what’s your major? (if I’d guess, science major?)

  7. Hessa said,

    We were taught that anything that we are not familiar with, can be abnormal. Any Syndrome or disease that we don’t have enough knowledge about, can be a major cause of any symptoms that the patients complain of (If he/she was diagnosed with the syndrome) unless it wasn’t proven to be the cause. Funny, isn’t it?

    It’s like condemning a person for having that unknown disease/Syndrome. In the 60s, loads of children have been taken from their parents due to suspicious allegations of abuse. Some parents were sent to jail in spite of the children’s appeal to the court. I remember reading about a lawyer who handled 60 cases with similar circumstances, where he removed the children from their respective parents. One care taker decided to take one child to be examined in the hospital, as that child continued to have bruises and sustained frequent injuries … Tragically, the child had a genetic disease which affected his clotting factors. Later, 54 (I think) out of 60 were found to have some sorts of genetic diseases that lead to their susceptibility to bruises and injuries, eg. Haemophilia.

    About the Syndrome; we are not knowledgeable yet to understand the mechanism behind such a disease. Do you know what’s scary? The fact that some diseases are not heredity and any one may get this without any genetic predisposition is very frightening. XYY is thought to lead to patients with less intelligence than their peers, but they are not proven yet. The only reason why these prisoners were chosen to be part of the study is that they don’t have a choice; they don’t have rights like us. Lets not forget that a large number of them, maybe dangerous but most of them have low IQ levels which is not related to the disease itself.

    Finally, my major i science ( Well Done !!).. And to be specific, I’m doing Dentistry at the moment.

  8. The D man said,

    Ah sort of like the “innocent until proven guilty” notion. That’s really unprofessional. Are you serious? so almost 90% of the subjects were deprived from their parents on a false allegation.. that’s like the holocaust of children lol. Yeah that is scary, thank God I was born normal, with 3 legs lol jk. Aw alright! Dentistry mashala good luck with that.

  9. Hessa said,

    Exactly… That’s how some people would be treated by the world!!! In front of the police or general public, they are seen as strange, weird, not worth the time. Nevertheless, they will be treated like lab’s mice/ guinea pigs by Scientists and medical researchers. Yaeh, Al-Himidillah 3al el-ni3ma.. At least we heakthy and we don’t complain from any medical condition….. 3 Legs *_* ..No comment ^__^

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