A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Line of Duty is a very violent action-thriller with a high body count, starring Aaron Eckhart and Giancarlo Esposito. Multiple fight scenes involve characters being punched, kicked, head-butted, and elbowed, as well as being hit with metal poles and gym weights. Gunfights are also common, often resulting in death. Expect high-speed car chases and crashes and explosions; one character is stabbed in the stomach. Central to the plot is the kidnapping of an 11-year-old girl, whom viewers at one point in a glass box that's slowly filling up with water. One of the main characters continually livestreams all the action to her online followers. Strong language is used regularly, including "ass," "bitch," and variants of "s--t." The villain is motivated by revenge, while the hero is looking for redemption. A sexist term is used, and one transgender character is portrayed as stereotypically campy.
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What's the story?
In LINE OF DUTY, police officer Frank Penny (Aaron Eckhart) is forced to shoot a suspect dead. What he doesn't know is that the suspect was the only lead to the whereabouts of a kidnapped girl -- the daughter of Penny's boss/former partner, Chief Volk (Giancarlo Esposito). Determined to make amends, Penny goes rogue in a bid to save Volk's daughter. But Penny has caught the attention of online reporter Ava Brooks (Courtney Eaton), who joins him on his rescue mission, livestreaming his every move to an ever-growing audience.
Is it any good?
Full of action but far too unbelievable to be taken seriously, this fast-paced thriller barely stops for breath. Explosions, epic gun battles, and car chases are all present, with Eckhart's damaged Frank Penny in nearly every scene. He proves a likable lead, showing a vulnerability alongside his heroic persona. But, just like the action, the dialogue is far from subtle. Penny and Brooks' unlikely pairing has the odd comedic moment, but largely their relationship is less believable than the action happening around them. Not to mention the fact that Penny allows Brooks to tag along in the first place.
The social media aspect adds a novel dimension -- Brooks livestreams the action to a growing number of followers, and the movie is intercut with her own footage -- but it stops shy of exploring the idea in any great detail, instead using it as a plot device for the movie's sillier moments, most notably the finale. The villain, Dean Keller (Gotham's Ben McKenzie), is cartoonish, and Breaking Bad's Esposito feels wasted as the sidelined Chief Volk. Line of Duty may be big on action, but it's lacking anything more.
Talk to your kids about ...
What role does social media play in the movie? Discuss the pros and cons of social media use.
What were Dean Keller's motivations to act the way he did? Did this help explain his actions? Did you feel empathy toward him?
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