Drugs and lots of blood in incomprehensible action thriller.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pursuit is a confusing action/thriller about the son (Emile Hirsch) of a drug lord (John Cusack) who creates all kinds of havoc while looking for his kidnapped wife. Violence is the biggest issue, with shocking moments of gore: Bodies of murdered children are shown in pools of blood, and a young woman is seen with blood still spurting from her wound. There's also a severed tongue, an eye getting stabbed with a fork, torture, and more -- as well as lots of guns and shooting, dead bodies, innocent bystanders getting shot, punching, fighting, explosions, etc. Women are treated roughly and killed. Language is also strong, with frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. Main characters sell drugs; packages of cocaine are shown, and other drugs are mentioned. Social drinking, pot smoking, and cigarette smoking are also shown. Men are seen shirtless, and there's some sex-related dialogue.
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What's the Story?
In PURSUIT, computer hacker Rick Calloway (Emile Hirsch) is trying to track down his wife, who's been kidnapped in connection with his drug lord father (John Cusack). Rick interrupts a drug bust engineered by NYPD detective Mike Breslin (Jake Manley) and is eventually arrested. Transferred to Little Rock, Rick is then kidnapped by a rival father-son drug cartel. Breslin arrives and teams up with local cop Zoe Carter (Elizabeth Faith Ludlow) to find him. Before long, all interested parties clash in a showdown of bullets and grenades.
Is It Any Good?
This messy, convoluted action movie is so incomprehensible that it's difficult to say what it's actually about, other than a whole bunch of characters shooting each other and blowing stuff up. Not even the title gives much of a clue. In Pursuit, we have one character who's mourning a dead wife and another who's searching for a missing wife, presumed dead. We have two father-and-son drug duos, one of which is simply known as "Frank and John." We have a man walking away in slo-mo from an explosion. We have a character (Cusack) who spends most of the movie constantly flipping steaks on his gas grill -- so frequently that they'll surely never cook.
The only thing that's somewhat clear here is that everyone is after Rick, although the reasons why aren't clear. Hirsch takes being the center of attention and runs with it, donning a strange wardrobe (at one point he wears only underwear and long socks), dark glasses, and tattoos and delivering his lines in a cool, unhurried manner. When a car comes to his rescue during a chase, Rick climbs in and says, "you can drive... if you like." It's too bad the rest of Pursuit forgets to have fun along with Hirsch. Manley plays every scene with the same blank expression, leaving poor Ludlow stranded, and Cusack looks simply perturbed over having to be here. We can't blame him.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Pursuit's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
How are drugs depicted? Are they glamorized? Are there consequences for using or selling drugs? Why is that important?
What are family relationships like in this story? How much communication is there? How much trust?
How are LGBTQ+ and characters of color depicted? Are they presented as role models? Are stereotypes used? Why is representation in the media important?
Are there any positive messages in this story? Do characters learn anything valuable?
- In theaters: February 18, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: March 29, 2022
- Cast: Emile Hirsch, John Cusack, Jake Manley
- Director: Brian Skiba
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, disturbing images, language and some drug content
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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