A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mainly a revenge tale without hope, although a secondary character volunteers to help the main character with no expectation of reward. The movie is very pro-CIA.
Positive Role Models
Characters are revenge-seekers, cynical, depressed. A younger character craves action and danger.
Violence & Scariness
A character is held hostage and beaten in the face with a baseball bat. Guns are shown and fired. Blood. Ear sliced open. Car chase. Suicide from a bridge. Chase scenes. Throat slicing, with blood spurt. A shootout, with dead bodies and blood. Fighting. Knives. Eye gouging. A second suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss. References to Internet porn.
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"F--k" is used several times. Also "s--t," "a--hole," "ass," "goddamn," "damn," "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations). "Ass" and "s--t" shown in subtitles.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character drinks several times: whiskey in a bar, sake at home, martini in restaurant. Another character takes his drink away when he's had too much. Smoking. Prescription pills shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dying of the Light is an international revenge thriller with a main character who's diagnosed with a form of dementia. There are bloody chases, fights with guns and knives, suicide, spurting blood, and dead bodies. Language is strong, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "ass." The main character drinks frequently, overdoing it once or twice. He also smokes. Sex isn't an issue except for a kiss between adults and references to Internet porn. The movie is very pro-CIA and features a stirring speech about "the call" to join. It's directed by Paul Schrader, who claims that his director's cut was taken away, edited, and newly scored and mixed without his approval. What's left is mildly interesting, but die-hard cinephiles may want to join Schrader in his silent protest against this truncated release. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie isn't exactly terrible, but it's also not particularly sharp or fresh. Filmmaker Paul Schrader, who wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull and directed American Gigolo, seems to be struggling in today's movie industry. According to reports, his cut of DYING OF THE LIGHT was taken from him, and this version was heavily edited, scored, and mixed without his approval. What remains is not really worthy of a filmmaker of Schrader's reputation.
Though his character's diagnosis involves irrational behavior, Cage's performance still comes across as a bit too unhinged. Yelchin is a nice compliment to him, but his role seems gratuitous. Many of the plot details feel like stretches of logic and the imagination, though many moments are quietly effective. Schrader's films are usually thoughtful examinations of obsession, and his rumored director's cut might have been great, but it's impossible to determine much from this released version.
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.