A History of Violence is a 2005 American crime thriller film directed by David Cronenberg and written by Josh Olson. It is an adaptation of the 1997 graphic novel of the same name by John Wagner and Vince Locke. The film stars Viggo Mortensen as the owner of a small-town diner who is thrust into the spotlight after killing two robbers in self-defense, thus forcing him to confront his violent past. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a restaurant owner in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. One night two men (Stephen McHattie and Greg Bryk) attempt to rob the restaurant. When a waitress is threatened, Tom deftly kills both robbers, and his actions make him a local celebrity. He is visited by scarred gangster Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), who alleges that Tom is actually a gangster named Joey Cusack who had dealings with him in the Irish Mob in Philadelphia some years ago. Tom vehemently denies this, claiming he has never been to Philadelphia, as well as never meeting this man before, but Fogarty remains persistent and begins to stalk the Stall family. Under pressure from Fogarty and his newfound fame, Tom's relationships with his wife Edie (Maria Bello), teenage son Jack (Ashton Holmes), and young daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes) become strained. Following an argument with his father over the use of violence after brutally assaulting a bully at school, Jack runs off.