David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence" is a nice character studio over how hard it truly is to overcome a violent nature and the repercussions of falling back into that nature.
It this story and in the real world it doesn't matter if the reasons for violence were noble or if external forces are pushing you into returning to them (or both).
There are no real excuses other than that the person must take responsibility and in this movie the main character (Viggo) does.
The movie is strongly acted and written with a taught sense of urgency.
William Hurt once again provides a fascinating evil performance.
While the end of the movie does turn toward the dark side, this is in fact that is a breath of fresh air from the common approach which would just add a happy ending to tie things up.
Happy endings aren't always what occurs in the real world and as such
this brief slice of life is more realistic than otherwise thought. Grade: B