Spoiler Alert! The 50 Best Movie Twists

30. Tom Stall is actually a hitman known as "Joey Cusack."

Movie: A History of Violence (2005)
Writer: John Wagner and Vince Locke (original graphic novel); Josh Olson (screenplay)

Initially, small-town father/husband Tom Stall (David Cronenberg) spends David Cronenberg’s expertly made thriller A History of Violence as your average good old boy who suddenly becomes a local hero after stopping an attempted robbery in a diner. Like any gentle man, Tom doesn’t feel comfortable with all of the compliments and news cameras, nor does he feel at ease over the abrupt presence Irish mobster Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), who seems to have a proverbial hard-on for Tom.

As we soon learn, Carl’s in town because he saw the “hero” news reports and recognized the life-saver not as Tom Stall, but as Joey Cusack, Stall’s real identity. What Stall’s family doesn’t even know is that he was once a vicious killer living in Philly, where he left enemy Fogarty with a scar on his face at one time.

If you think about it, finding out that your dad used to be a hitman is much cooler than learning he has a second family, or that he’s, say, a pervert on the low. The little Stalls should be proud.

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