Honest Thief

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Honest Thief Movie Poster Image
Lean, entertaining, but violent Neeson revenge/action movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The initial motivation, to unburden your conscience via truth and honesty, is a worthy one, but everything turns sideways as the movie becomes more about corruption, violence, revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tom is, first and foremost, a thief and an explosives expert; he doesn't shy away from revenge and killing. It could be argued that, if he had never met Annie, he might not have had the urge to become honest and confess. Most other characters are either corrupt or capable of violence.


Guns and shooting. Bullet wounds, some blood. Characters are killed. A man attacks a woman -- hitting, fighting, bashing her face against a hard surface. Woman stabs man with scissors. Explosions. Fighting. Fall through window. Car chase/crash.




Sporadic uses of "s--t," "crap," "ass," "pr--k," "balls," "butt," and "my junk," plus exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink champagne to celebrate.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Honest Thief is a Liam Neeson action/revenge movie that's much lighter and more breezily entertaining than other Neeson movies of a similar nature. It's simple, effective, and lots of fun, despite the sometimes intense violence. It's mostly comic book-style stuff, although there is a scene of a man fighting a woman and bashing her face on a hard surface; she fights back, but it's still brutal. You can also expect guns and shooting, deaths, someone being stabbed with scissors, fighting, car chases/crashes, and explosions. Gunshot wounds and cuts and scrapes are shown. Language includes "crap," "ass," "pr--k," and a partly obscured use of "s--t." Two characters kiss and celebrate with wine.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13-year-old Written byltcolkep October 16, 2020

Fitting Revenge

Rooted for the good bad guy right from the start. The plot was realistic enough to me especially in this day of deep state. Corrupt FBI agents not that hard to... Continue reading
Adult Written byMarvelDAD June 28, 2021

Great movie has less violence then suspected!

This movie is the best and has one of the best actors (one of the favorite), Liam Neeson! This movie surprisingly has less violence than normal Liam Neeson movi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 27, 2021

Great 2021 movie has less violence then suspected.

This movie is the best and ha grs eat actors (one of the favorite) Liam Neeson! This movie surprisingly had less violence than normal liam neeson movies!
Viole... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 29, 2021

Kinda Dumb

This movie is disappointing for my first liam neeson thriller. it has violence and language. fine for older kids.

Positive Messages: 2/5
Positive Role Models:... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HONEST THIEF, Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) is a professional thief who's stolen $9 million over the years without being caught. When he meets and falls in love with Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to turn himself in, handing over the money in exchange for a shorter sentence. Unfortunately, FBI agents Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos), who are assigned to check out Tom's claim, decide to keep the cash for themselves and send Tom up the river. After everything goes south and tragedy strikes, Tom has nothing to lose, so he falls back on his old skills with explosives to take his bitter revenge.

Is it any good?

Simple and effective, this action/revenge movie races along on the most basic, primal emotions, and, thanks to the unpretentious performances, is so "honest" that it's easy to forgive its silliness. In Honest Thief, Neeson once again capitalizes on the unique blend of lovable everyman and dangerous tough guy that's made him an action star, perhaps not unlike the early days of Charles Bronson. Tom's meet-cute with Annie is as adorable as his snarly line reading of "I'm comin' fer you" is exhilarating. Walsh is a good match for him, funny and spunky (her character's dire fate is the movie's one sour note).

Ramos is also appealing as an FBI agent whose conscience catches up with him, and Robert Patrick is likable as a trusting senior FBI man. (Courtney's one-note bad guy is a weak spot, but he still pulls it off in a brutish, brick-hard way.) The movie's best touch is Jeffrey Donovan as a good, wry, unflappable FBI agent who's inherited his wife's dog in their divorce and ends up bringing the dog on his investigation. At the helm, director Mark Williams keeps up a decent pace for a trim 99 minutes, and Honest Thief never takes itself too seriously. It's one of the lightest and most unapologetically entertaining movies of Neeson's career, and it may just steal your heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Honest Thief's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it shocking? Thrilling? How did the filmmakers achieve these effects? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How much of the movie's violence is directed toward women? Does that change its impact? How did the scene featuring that kind of violence feel different from other action scenes?

  • What makes Neeson such an appealing action star? Do you prefer him in movies like this, or in dramas? Why?

  • What's the appeal of revenge stories? What are the pros and cons of seeking revenge?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action thrillers

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