Parents' Guide to

Athena

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intense drama about racism, inequality; violence, language.

Movie R 2022 99 minutes
Athena Movie

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Athena feels more like a violent video game than a story about social ills. More than a treatise on the alienation of the impoverished, on the unfairness of prejudice, or the exasperation of poorly treated immigrants, the movie is designed to blow things up, destroy and maim people, and unload testosterone. Director Romain Gavras' decision to liken this saga to Greek tragedy makes no discernible difference to the outcome of the story, nor does that conceit add anything to our understanding of the situation. Greek or not, the movie feels as unreal as the game-like depiction of violence that is at its center. This is chaotic in every sense, deliberately with regard to the youthful alienation that leads to the destruction of life and property, but also inadvertently when a loosey-goosey secondary plot brings in a fugitive terrorist and explosives expert named Sebastian (Alexis Manenti) who helps Karim's insurgents literally bring the house down as the movie devolves into ridiculousness. At one point the bomb-maker asks for some gas, explosives, and a fruit juice. Gavras doesn't explain the plight of the poor and disenfranchised as much as he exploits them for their usefulness as the basis for an action extravaganza.

The focus is on visual spectacle, not social issues. That's why none of the characters amount to much more than stereotypes, some with dramatically convenient flip-flopping personalities. A brutal drug dealer turns all sweet and nice. A reasonable peacemaker morphs into a vicious killer in a split second. Why bother developing them into humans we might care about when they are designed to be cinematic targets for an ambitious filmmaker to take shots at? In Odd Man Out and Belfast, both about prejudice and violence related to "the troubles" in Northern Ireland, the focus is on the human beings, not the explosives, so we care deeply about all the human loss. Not so at the end of this.

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