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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
One of the movie's main themes is the dying of the American dream and how drugs are a central part of that. The movie offers no real solutions to this situation; it simply indicates that there's a problem. The movie also dabbles in nihilism. One character insists that everything is meaningless, while another character believes that we must be here for a reason. As the movie ends, it seems to lean more toward the former assertion.
Positive Role Models
Sheriff Bodie is the only character who stays on the right side of the law, mostly. (The very end of the movie may change things.) He's kind and treats people with respect, and he's a loving uncle, regularly checking on his family.
Main characters are White men. The only women are the main character's wife, who "goes away to Tupelo" for most of the movie, and a woman who works in a diner. Neither has much agency. No characters of color are around. One character refers to a non-American car as a "Jap thing."
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Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting, with characters shot and killed. Blood spurts. Car chase. Character is bound and gagged, then killed (suffocated) via a plastic bag placed over head and secured with zip-tie. Woman suffocated with pillow, struggling, then shot through pillow (bloody wound). Character shot in head, with blood spray. Person stabbed repeatedly in neck, with gurgling sounds. Character beaten with butt of gun. Blood-covered gun. One person slams another man's head on a glass countertop. Threatening with gun. Dumping dead body in lake. Punching. Kicking. Character locked in trunk of car. Offscreen, man punches woman unconscious. Dead deer in woods. Dialogue about a "kid" dying of an overdose. Dialogue about a man shooting wife, then self. Dialogue about character choking to death. Audio from phone: kidnapped, panicking woman and child.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple is affectionate: kissing, man swats woman on bottom (below frame, noise heard).
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Strong, frequent language includes uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "ass," "bastard," "eat a d--k," "Jesus Christ," "Christ," "Jesus," "damn," "hell," "nuts."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drug misuse and addiction in a small town. Characters rob a "pill mill," a place where prescription drugs are illegally sold. Main character pops ill-gotten prescription pills (it's suggested that they're for Parkinson's Disease). Dialogue about a "kid" dying of an overdose. References to "oxy," "tweakers," etc. Cigarette smoking. Beer-drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mob Land is an ultimately thoughtful, engaging crime drama about a man, who, after a botched robbery, finds his fate entwined with that of a mafia enforcer. Violence can be intense and includes guns and shooting, with deaths, blood spurts, a character being suffocated by plastic bag, someone else being suffocated with a pillow and shot, stabbing, head-slamming, hitting with gun butt, punching, kicking, threats, violent incidents described in dialogue, and more. Strong language includes frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "Jesus Christ," etc. Characters rob a "pill mill," a place where prescription drugs are illegally sold, and there's dialogue about drug misuse and addiction (a "kid" is said to have overdosed). Characters smoke cigarettes and occasionally drink beer. A married couple kisses, and the husband swats the wife on her behind below the frame. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
After a too-familiar start, this crime drama slowly, surprisingly reveals itself as a potent exercise in existentialism, a thoughtful rumination on guilt and the dying of the American Dream. Let's face it, the "botched robbery" description and the B-level cast doesn't initially inspire confidence. But Mob Land takes off when Dorff's Clayton Minor arrives on the scene. He's a nihilist from New Orleans but also a student of human nature, seemingly curious about the inner lives of all the locals. His gravel-hard surface and the nature of his questions and ideas are a fascinating juxtaposition. Indeed, the very reason he doesn't kill Shelby is that he's curious about Shelby's reasons for the robbery and his guilt. To top it off, Travolta gives one of his most lovable performances as the avuncular sheriff, whose slow, polite drawl belies a smart twinkle in his eyes. Mob Land is the writing and directing debut of Nicholas Maggio, and if he can learn to keep from shaking the camera during action scenes -- as he unfortunately does here -- it will be interesting to see what he does next.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.