Gun City

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Gun City Movie Poster Image
Drama about corruption in 1920s Spain; language, violence.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 126 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Violence begets more violence. Sometimes governments use violence not because they need to but because it will sway the public to the government's side. Guns don't bring revolution, just chaos.

Positive Role Models & Representations

At first Anibal seems to be as crude and sadistic as the cops he's joined, but he later shows that he has some principles. All but one cop, most of the army officers, a government minister, and every businessperson in the movie is corrupt in some way. Women and workers strike peacefully in the fight for freedom, equality, and decent wages.

Violence

A peaceful girl protesting against low wages for women is beaten to death by police breaking up the protest. Many bodies are seen killed by gunfire. A man is seen murdered in the street with his throat bleeding where it was cut with piano wire. Several people are shot at point-blank range. A train is robbed at night by armed men who ambush and kill the train's guards. A man is shot in the head.
 

Sex

A woman tells her boss she's pregnant and wants to quit dancing at his club and turning tricks but he insists she have another abortion and get back to work. Dancers wear flesh-colored outfits designed to make them look nearly naked. A man in debt to a mobster "gives" his 13-year-old daughter in exchange for his debt. It's suggested the girl will become a prostitute and she's later seen, fully clothed, in a girl-on-girl porn shoot.  A sadistic cop tries to get a woman to talk as he starts to rape her. Her underwear is seen. Two clothed men pet each other.
 

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "bastard," "bitch," "whore," "scum," "damn," "hell," "f--got," and "ass."

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults smoke cigarettes constantly, drink alcohol, and snort cocaine.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gun City, known in Spanish as La Sambra de la Ley, is a violent, disturbing shoot-'em-up set during a time of early 20th-century political and military turmoil in Spain. Corruption among leadership of the police, military, and government trickles down, setting the tone for an equally amoral underworld to violently rule cities hand in hand with wealthy industrialists. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "bitch," whore," "f--got," and "ass." Women dance suggestively at a night club in skimpy costumes and double as prostitutes run by the management. A woman tells her boss she's pregnant and wants to quit dancing at his club and turning tricks but he insists she have another abortion and get back to work. Dancers wear flesh-colored outfits designed to make them look nearly naked. A man in debt to a mobster "gives" his 13-year-old daughter in exchange for his debt. It's suggested the girl will become a prostitute and she's later seen, fully clothed, in a girl-on-girl porn shoot. A sadistic cop tries to get a woman to talk as he starts to rape her. Her underwear is seen. Two clothed men pet each other. A peaceful girl protesting against low wages for women is beaten to death by police breaking up the protest. Many bodies are seen killed by gunfire. A man is seen murdered in the street with his throat bleeding where it was cut with piano wire. Several people are shot at point-blank range. A train is robbed at night by armed men who ambush and kill the train's guards. A man is shot in the head. Adults smoke cigarettes constantly, drink alcohol, and snort cocaine.

  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byjonlarkster November 12, 2018
gives a little insight into the moods and reasons for unrest of that time in that part of Spain

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

GUN CITY is a long, complex tale about 1920s Spain and the deep corruption affecting its police, businesses, government, and military. When a train transport of military weapons is hijacked and the weapons are stolen, an investigator from Madrid named Anibal Uiarte (Luis Tosar) arrives in Barcelona to help the police find the perpetrators and the weapons. Anibal immediately is introduced to police who are sadistic, inept, and largely uninterested in justice but who spend most of their energy collecting protection money from equally corrupt businessmen. One, who calls himself the "Baron" (Manolo Solo), runs a fancy club with prostitutes doubling as scantily clad dancing girls. He's working with a wealthy factory owner to suppress strikes by so-called anarchists who are peacefully protesting in the quest for fairer wages. After the police kill some protestors, younger hot heads want to buck older, calmer leadership to take up arms and escalate the violence. Allies betray allies and good guys (cops) are actually bad guys while bad guys reveal themselves to be on the right side of morality and history.  
 

Is it any good?

This movie includes many clichés taken straight out of better gangster films, including The Godfather and Goodfellas. Teens old enough to bear the violence and sadism may find this too long and convoluted to follow. Characters threaten each other and then collaborate with each other. Anarchists, at first portrayed as working-class heroes trying to fight peacefully for better workplace conditions, turn on allies, showing themselves to be as power-hungry, violent, and corrupt as those they hope to unseat. Most troubling is that it may require substantial knowledge of early 20th-century Spanish history to truly understand the motivations of several key characters. Gun City suggests that politicians wanted bloodbaths in cities, allowing them to justify in the eyes of public opinion the presence of the military on city streets, ending with a military takeover of the Spanish government.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about patterns that occur in history. A man trying to uncover corruption and save innocent lives tries to reason with those bent on stooping to violence. What does the movie say about the connection between violence and corruption?

  • One protester against unfair labor practices insists that if striking workers use violence against their oppressors then they'll provide the oppressors with reasons to completely destroy them. Why do you think this is good or bad advice?   

  • How could you learn more about the historical period when Gun City takes place?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate