A History of Violence, Released in 2005

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“A History of Violence,” released in 2005, is an American crime thriller which demonstrates and relates to numerous topics discussed in Psychology: An Exploration. Different psychological disorders and theories can be seen throughout the film. Tom Stall, the main character, kills two robbers in self defense and becomes a hero. However, his over night popularity thrusts him into the spotlight and causes members of an organized crime family to begin harassing Tom and his family. The mobsters claim Tom is not who he portrays himself to be.

In the beginning of the film, two sought after criminals nonchalantly murder motel workers and a young girl. They exhibit no regret or emotions after the killings and continue on their crime spree. Next they are shown casually plotting a robbery to obtain cash and a free meal. The two men walk into the restaurant, demand service, and attempt to assault and murder the workers and patrons within. However, their scheme is abruptly ended when Tom Stall, the restaurant owner, kills both robbers. Both of these criminals displayed antisocial characteristics. In chapter 12, Psychological Disorders, an antisocial person or sociopath is defined as “lacking in conscience or morals; users and con artists who experience no regret or strong emotions.” This definition defines the robbers psyche faultlessly.

Intermediately in the film, Tom Stall’s son, Jack stall is shown being bullied. Bobby has continually harassed and bullied Jack for no apparent reason. Usually Jack tells jokes and ignores Bobby’s constant harassment. However, in this particular scene, Jack has had enough and retaliates. Bobby is an adolescent and may be dealing with a psychosocial crisis discussed in chapter 7, Development Across the Life Span. Erikson’s identity versus role confusion is defined as the “fifth stage of personality development in which the adolescent must find a consistent sense of self.” Bobby may have come into this stage without successfully...
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