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Assassination of a High School President



Compelling high school noir movie, but not for kids.
  • Review Date: October 15, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Even though the hero is trying to bust a corruption ring at St. Donovan's High School, the corruption is pervasive. From cheating to harassment of fellow students (both male and female) to threats from the principal himself, no one is safe here. And the themes of drug running and incest are huge red flags.

Positive role models

Principal Fitzpatrick tells a student: "Do I come to the strip club and knock the d--k out of your mouth?" The only saving grace is that he does the right thing when his student breaks up the corruption ring. Not a single parent seen in the entire film.


Some punching, a fake assassination attempt, teenage boy harassment. Most of the abuse is of the verbal variety.


Lots of innuendo. One teen is passed out on the couch and her boyfriend says: "I'll let you play with her t-ts for twenty bucks." Teens shown having sex in a car. A female character's chest is exposed in a bathtub scene. Incest among siblings is a theme mentioned.


Extremely graphic language used by teens. Every four-letter word (from a to z, really) and some very graphic language pertaining to girls who are promiscuous. Even the Principal of the school says extremely inappropriate things to his students.


Pepsi and Doublemint gum shown. A litany of prescription drugs are mentioned-- particularly those used to help kids concentrate in school.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Kids play beer pong to the extent of passing out. One girl gets so drunk that she wets her pants while she's passed out. Characters smoke a joint and talk about how it tastes. Even the "smart" kids are hooked on prescription drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the high school setting, this movie is not appropriate for kids. Teens who have followed Mischa Barton's career might be interested, but the extreme language ("Do you still eat your mom's dirty tampons?"), alcohol and drug abuse, and overall sense of darkness make this sleek movie inappropriate for young viewers.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Bobby Funke (Reece Thompson) is an aspiring journalist who has sniffed out a huge story at St. Donovan's, where he's a sophomore. When the S.A.T. tests go missing, Funke takes it upon himself to find out who the culprit is. He gets his man, but then finds that he has only scraped the surface of a much bigger, much darker, more complicated corruption ring. Though thwarted by the principal (Bruce Willis), an unhinged Desert Storm veteran, and sidetracked by Francesca (Mischa Barton), Funke looks past the smokescreens to see the truth. And in this case, the truth sets him free.

Is it any good?


Fans of film noir will enjoy the fast-talking, if foul-mouthed, teens portrayed in this movie. But let us be clear: this movie is not meant to be viewed by the age group it portrays. There are no parents at all, and the adults in view are not in control of their own emotional lives. If a sixteen-year-old boy is the moral compass of a movie, there are sure to be red flags. This said, adults who appreciate a dark suspense movie will enjoy watching this young fan of Woodward and Bernstein get his story right in the end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. St. Donovan's is portrayed as a place where many kids have been pressured into having sex. Is this how your school is? How do you say no? Are kids ready to be adults in this way? Here are some tips for parents and kids to help create dialogue about a very important issue.

  • Performance-enhancing drugs are everywhere nowadays. What are your views about prescription drugs that are used to "help" kids concentrate? What are the downsides of using drugs to aid with concentration?

  • Parties in movies about high school often involve drinking. How is this similar to or different from how parties are in your high school? Here are some ways to talk about alcohol and the influence that movies like this one have on teen viewers.

Movie details

DVD release date:October 9, 2009
Cast:Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Reece Thompson
Director:Brett Simon
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:For sexual content, some nudity, language, and drug and alcohol use - all involving teens.

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