Press release announcing the release of the soundtrack CD for A History of Violence describes the origins of and inspirations for Howard Shore's original score. "The main character, Tom Stall, struggles with his own capacity for violence," says Shore. "The composition and its counterpoint were constructed to reflect Tom's dual nature.The film portrays the consequences of violence and its effect on family and community."
Regarding the soundtrack for A History of Violence, Nick Joy says that Howard Shore has "fashioned an ominous score that is essentially structured around two or three themes, and primarily around the character of Tom." In his review, he explores the details of each track, concluding that this is "probably the most accessible Cronenberg score to date and certainly a welcome addition to the Shore canon."