Parents' Guide to


By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Well-made but grisly thriller is not for kids.

Movie R 2002 118 minutes
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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 13+
age 14+

Underrated Nolan Film

A grim story of guilt, self justification and being pushed over the edge. One of Robin Williams best serious roles. The character beats hit hard, memorable moments of intimate psychological conflict between characters, and the two leads foil eachother perfectly as we learn of thier human and base sides. It offerd much food for thought. Very little gruesome details for a murder mystery. The only examples are very brief flashes of a small blood spurt from a gunshot to a characters chest and a dead dog used as a dummy for a bullet framing (we see some bloody fur as hand presumably goes into the fresh wound to dig bullet out). Theres also a disturbing discription of how a young boy was hanged. Very brief unfocused sight of a cadavers breast. 25 or so f words.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (9):

Like his previous film Memento, director Christopher Nolan's thoughtful thriller has many dualities and counterpoints and an impaired main character. We cannot always trust what we see through Dormer's eyes, nor can Dormer. Nolan uses everything -- the huge frozen vistas, the disorientation of perpetual sunlight, the fog that surrounds their first glimpse of the killer, the names (Dormer is "to sleep" in French, Ellie Burr is a detective whose dedication is a constant irritant). Dormer's lack of sleep both deconstructs and constructs him. He enters a surreal state in which he is both more and less able to rely on his judgment.

Pacino, Swank, Donovan, and Maura Tierney as a sympathetic hotel proprietor are all first-rate. The movie's weakest point is Robin Williams in the under-written role of the killer.

Movie Details

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