Reclaim

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Reclaim Movie Poster Image
Thriller about child trafficking has violence, language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The end credits include a real-life message about child trafficking -- that it exists -- but the movie doesn't offer ways for the audience to help or learn more. The opening credits contain shocking imagery from the Haitian earthquake, but again, the movie doesn't offer any advice on how anyone could learn more or help (other than to adopt orphaned children).

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters start out by performing something of a noble deed, adopting a child orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti. But their behavior and actions are too unintelligent for them to be considered role models.

Violence

The movie begins with some harrowing images of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, including dead bodies, bloody wounds, and children in anguish. In the movie itself, characters threaten each other with guns, and some characters are shot and killed. A character gets sucker punched and knocked to the floor. There's also a sudden car crash and several car chase scenes with crashes. Characters are kidnapped, tied up, and held hostage. There's a chase scene on foot, through city streets, with passersby being shoved out of the way.

Sex

A married couple kisses from time to time and are generally affectionate toward each other.

Language

Language isn't constant but does include a dozen or so uses of "f--k" or "motherf----r." "S--t" is also heard a couple of times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In a flashback, the main character is shown very drunk, with his drunkenness contributing to a tragic car accident. In the present day, he's given up drinking, and though he's tempted by others, he doesn't partake. Secondary characters are shown drinking socially, and one of the supporting characters smokes a pipe and cigars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reclaim is a thriller centered on the issue of child trafficking. In the story, an American couple is swindled out of their money with the promise of being able to adopt a Haitian child. The movie begins with horrific images of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, including dead bodies, bloody wounds, children in anguish, and general carnage. In the movie itself, characters have guns, and some are shot and killed. There's a brief fight scene and lots of chasing in cars and on foot, with crashes. Characters are also tied up and kidnapped. Language includes several uses of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t." A main character is a recovering drinker (his drinking led to a tragic car accident in the past), though he doesn't drink at all in the movie's present. A married couple is shown kissing from time to time, and there's some background drinking and smoking.

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What's the story?

Unable to have a child after a traffic accident, nice couple Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) and Steven (Ryan Phillippe) have come to Puerto Rico to adopt a little Haitian girl, Nina (Briana Roy), who was orphaned by the 2010 earthquake there. Things go beautifully, except for the fact that creepy Benjamin (John Cusack) and his two suspicious cohorts are hanging around. After Steven has a strange, violent encounter in a bar, the couple wakes the next morning to find Nina gone. They've been scammed, taken for around $100,000. Benjamin has also discovered that they have much more in the bank, so he kidnaps them to get it. But Steven and Shannon aren't done fighting for their new daughter.

Is it any good?

RECLAIM is a totally routine movie that tries to combine a message about trafficked children with a lowbrow thriller about loved ones going missing in a foreign country. This fear has been better handled in better movies; meanwhile, Reclaim requires all of its characters to be completely dumb -- or at least very slow on the draw (even though the main characters reassure themselves that they're smart). For example, a trip to the bank to pick up the ransom money goes laughably wrong as both the good guys and bad guys try to outwit each other, with increasingly idiotic moves.

And then there's the fact that it takes Shannon more than a day to figure out how to escape the kitchen in which she's held hostage. The endless chase scenes are equally uninspired and illogical, but at least Nina is kept mostly safe. Cusack sometimes seems to be having fun playing the bad guy, but other times he just appears to be collecting a paycheck. Supporting cast members Jacki Weaver and Luis Guzman are fun, but they only appear in a couple of scenes each.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how child trafficking is presented in Reclaim. What kind of information does the movie want to impart? How could you find more information? What can be done?

  • How did the violence in the movie affect you? Was it thrilling, or did it have a more serious tone? How did the filmmakers achieve this?

  • What does the movie have to say about drinking and alcohol? Are the consequences realistic? How was Steven's drinking to blame for this predicament?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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