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Parents' Guide to

Civic Duty

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Terrorism themes + paranoia = not for kids.

Movie R 2007 94 minutes
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Jeff Renfroe skillfully employs the camera so it looks like we're seeing Terry's perspective, framing close-ups at sharp angles and in deep, greenish-filtered shadows. When Terry at last confronts Gabe, the film lurches into a very tightly focused, essentially two-character standoff as they lob forceful, irate questions about revenge, righteousness, and morality at each other.

These questions are definitely complex and crucial: Would Terry want to avenge his own wife's death? How does ideology frame definitions of good and evil? But the film's subtler questions are just as pressing, as Terry becomes a product of both his personal situation and his broader cultural environment. Even when Terry thinks he's finally attaining self-control, the film suggests he's losing himself. To its credit, Civic Duty doesn't resolve this dilemma but instead leaves it to viewers' judgment -- keeping in mind that you're surrounded by the same media provocations that Terry is.

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