A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blackhat -- director Michael Mann's action thriller about a hacker (Chris Hemsworth) who goes after a ruthless criminal -- is filled with intrigue and deadly action sequences. Cars explode, sometimes with people inside (one scene is particularly wrenching), characters are stabbed (including a gruesome sequence involving a screwdriver to the head) and shot, and the camera lingers on bloody bodies. There's also some swearing, including "f--k," as well as social drinking, smoking, and making out, with sex implied (but only bare backs are shown).
What's the story?
A power plant explodes off of Hong Kong harbor, cause unknown. Soon after, a hacker infiltrates the New York Stock Exchange, causing a run-up in soy. Are these two events related? If so, how? The FBI wants to find out, and they're teaming up with Chinese operatives to get at the truth. But they're missing one weapon in their arsenal: Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a former MIT student who ran afoul of the law in his 20s and may now be able to redeem himself by helping Agent Carol Barrett (Viola Davis) and her colleague find the true criminals.
Is it any good?
In some ways, BLACKHAT is fascinating, given the international espionage and cyberwarfare that it brings to life on screen. But while the plot and performances are compelling enough, the connections the movie draws are forced, the villain's central motivation strains credulity, and it simply goes on for far too long. Director Michael Mann is known for his stylish thrillers, and this is no exception, but a little more substance and less flash would have made Blackhat a true winner. As it stands, it's forgettable, as well as too violent for younger viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Nicholas is a hero or a villain, given his criminal past. Can you think of other movie characters who have checkered pasts but are intended to be sympathetic? What makes us like them?
How does the violence in Blackhat compare to what you've seen in other thrillers/action movies? Which scenes had the most impact on you? Why do you think that is?
What's the movie's take on cybercrimes? Do you think dealing with that subject makes the film particularly timely or relevant? Will it eventually make the movie seem dated? Does that matter?
Parents, talk to your teens about how to stay safe on the Internet.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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