Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
MI-5 Movie Poster Image
Violent, convoluted spy thriller based on British TV series.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Some teamwork, but it's grudging. Characters also take risks and are violent without consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The spies have a certain level of cool, but their behavior isn't particularly admirable.


Lots of guns and shooting. Dead bodies, bloody wounds, apparent suicide (jumping from bridge). Fighting, explosions, breaking glass. Death by poison.


Infrequent use of words including "f--k" and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MI-5 is a spy thriller based on the British TV series of the same name. Convoluted and dull for newcomers, it has little to offer anyone besides fans of the show (although Game of Thrones fans may be intrigued by star Kit Harington). Expect lots of violence -- especially guns and shooting -- with some death and blood. There's also chasing, fighting, crashes, and explosions, as well as suicide (both faked and not). Language isn't frequent but includes uses of "f--k" and "s--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byVin123456 July 28, 2019
Is a cool film.
Teen, 13 years old Written byJoshBrown05 August 29, 2018

Great action film with Normal violence

Mi5 is a great film with some violence like shooting and fighting but not slot of blood is shown

What's the story?

Set after the end of the TV series it's connected to, UK spy thriller MI-5 begins with a routine prisoner transfer. Unfortunately, there's an attack, and terrorist Adem Qasim (Elyes Gabel) goes free. Realizing that he'll be pegged as the scapegoat, head of counter-terrorism Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) fakes his own suicide. He then enlists the aid of decommissioned agent Will Holloway (Kit Harington), the only person Harry can trust, to catch Qasim before he launches an attack. It turns out that Qasim is willing to make a deal, but Harry and Will must find his wife, which will be no easy task. And to make matters even more complicated, it seems that there's a traitor inside MI-5.

Is it any good?

Very convoluted and not particularly exciting, this movie will likely only appeal to fans of the TV series, which ran from 2002 to 2011; even then, it's not much more than an extended episode. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, who made the very charming Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, MI-5 feels perfunctory and flat; it's on auto-pilot. Nalluri finds a numbing, middle-ground pace that moves too fast for viewers to get involved in the characters but too slow for true thrills.

During dialogue scenes, the camera meanders about, moving around characters' heads as if bored. To make matters worse, the bad guy and the good guy look strikingly similar (Harrington has slightly longer hair); the plot is already confusing, and this casting error makes things even more baffling. To top things off, the plain title, MI-5 -- which was changed from the British title Spooks: The Greater Good -- will ensure that newcomers pass this one by.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about MI-5's violence. Was it thrilling? Disturbing? How did the filmmakers achieve this effect? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Why are stories about spies appealing? What are the good things about being a spy? The bad things?

  • How is the story affected by the choice of a terrorist as a bad guy?

  • If you've seen the show, how does the movie compare? Which do you like better, and why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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