Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Murder, deception, brutality, kidnapping, smuggling, homophobia -- there's a panoply of questionable behavior on display here.
Violence & Scariness
Brutal and nearly unrelenting, whether outright graphic or implied. In the opening scene, the throat of a man sitting in a barber shop chair is slit while the camera zooms up close; later, mobsters cut off his fingers so that there won't be any fingerprints (also shown in close-up). A young girl collapses in a pool of blood, Semyon beats his son at the drop of a hat, and Kirill then takes out his frustrations on others. A particularly bloody fight unfolds in a bathhouse, where a naked Nikolai goes up against two clothed intruders bearing knives. One ends up with a dagger in his eyeballs (again, seen up close). Accompanying all of this is a cacophony of disturbing sounds of bones crunching and flesh being hacked to pieces. Women are raped and coerced into sex.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Tatiana and Nikolai share a tender kiss. All other scenes of sex/nudity involve women clearly under the influence of force and/or coercion. One of these disturbing scenes shows a woman having intercourse (her breasts and bottom are bare) while her eyes are glazed over, as if she's completely disconnected from the act. Images include full nudity, though it's artfully staged so that the camera doesn't linger too long on genitalia (viewers just get flashes of them).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Many uses of "f--k," "bitch," and "whore."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Occasional: Business card for a Russian restaurant, champagne label, Mercedes Benz.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol fuels the mayhem and seemingly numbs characters to their acts of violence (in a few scenes at a brothel, men drink from liquor bottles before they have sex -- one of them forcibly -- with the women). The young girl, Tatiana, has track marks on her arms, proof that she was drugged so she wouldn't fight her unfortunate circumstances. The men smoke endlessly, and there's social drinking and smoking in the restaurant.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that violence -- both graphic and implied -- permeates this film (just as it did Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg's last collaboration, A History of Violence). From the first scene (which shows a brutal throat cutting) on, it's clear that kids and teens aren't the intended audience. Women are manhandled, men are murdered, babies are kidnapped, sons are betrayed, and sexual acts are forced, with little or no emotion. There's also smoking, drinking, strong language, and full nudity. It all serves a complex storyline that yields an intriguing film. But if you're not a Cronenberg fan, you may walk away stunned and appalled. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Cronenberg keeps Nikolai mysterious, a task for which the enigmatic Mortensen is more than worthy. He's unflappable, no matter what the job -- be it dismantling a corpse or parading nearly naked in front of the mob's top bosses. Veteran actor Armin Mueller-Stah conjures pure evil in a masterfully controlled performance)
Graphic violence is expected (required!) in Cronenberg's movies (Scanners, The Fly). But the accomplished auteur steps it up here, layering gore upon gore and overwhelming his own artistry. Just one example: A horrific-but-compelling ballet in which Nikolai is ambushed by two knife-wielding Chechen thugs in a bathhouse -- naked except for his extensive tattoos, he's as vulnerable as you can get -- is sabotaged and upstaged by a close-up of an eye being stabbed. (Oh, and then there's the scene of a throat getting hacked to bits as the movie opens...)
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
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.See how we rate