Run with the Hunted

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Run with the Hunted Movie Poster Image
Well-acted but violent, uneven crime drama about runaways.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Suggests that violence/murder is OK to solve a problem that some might consider worse (abuse). Many years later, there are indirect consequences, but it's so far removed that it doesn't really connect. Clearly inspired by Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, movie also wants to talk a little about runaway/unhoused children, but story is more about violence and corruption than it is about empathy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character is more or less depicted as a hero for saving two young children from abusive father, even though his act of murder sent him into life of crime. Almost all other characters are either criminals or corrupt; even grown-up children Oscar saved aren't quite clear about what to think. They treat Oscar as a savior, but wouldn't they have mixed feelings about person who killed their father?


Suggestion of a man sexually abusing his young child (very disturbing; nothing graphic shown). Child stabs/murders someone with a hot poker. Guns and shooting. Child shoots someone; blood splatter on wall. Bloody wounds. Characters get shot and die. Choke hold. A character slices an "x" into his own shoulder; blood shown.


Brief scene of a topless woman. Kissing. A woman wearing fishnet stockings and black underwear, with tape over her nipples, dances on a stripper pole. Nipples visible through tank top. Man ogles a woman's breasts and bottom.


Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "c--ksucker," and "ass," plus exclamatory use of "oh my God," "Jesus Christ."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink whiskey (from bottles and flasks), beer. An abusive character is often drunk. Cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Run with the Hunted is a mature crime drama about runaway kids and a violent act with repercussions that are felt 15 years later. It has guns and shooting, killing (some murders are committed by children), stabbing/slicing with a knife, blood, and a choke hold. Kids are taught to steal and pick pockets. A woman is briefly shown topless, characters kiss, a woman in a skimpy outfit (with tape over her nipples) performs a pole dance, nipples are visible through a tank top, and a man ogles a woman. Language includes many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--ksucker," and more. There's some drinking (hard liquor, beer) and cigarette smoking. Seemingly inspired by Oliver Twist, the movie offers good performances and a few powerful moments, but it also feels more mechanical than emotional.

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What's the story?

In RUN WITH THE HUNTED, young Oscar (Mitchell Paulsen) is sent by his mother to bring a plate of food to the neighbors: a little girl named Loux (Madilyn Kellam) and her younger brother, Amos (Evan Assante), who live with their drunken, abusive father. Oscar decides to commit an act of violence to save the younger children, and then runs away to the big city. There he meets a girl of about the same age named Peaches (Kylie Rogers) and falls in with a gang of lost children who are trained by Birdie (Ron Perlman) and Sway (Mark Boone Junior) to become thieves and pickpockets. Fifteen years later, the grown Oscar (Michael Pitt) and Peaches (Dree Hemingway) are in charge of a new group of kids, while Loux (Sam Quartin) gets a job for a private eye (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and uses her new resources to try to find her old friend.

Is it any good?

Taking inspiration from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, this crime drama offers a few powerful moments and strong performances, but it suffers from a general lack of logic and emotional honesty. Run with the Hunted starts well, as Oscar's father, played by William Forsythe, gives him advice about helping others. Then things take a wrong turn as young Oscar decides to take violent action rather than speak to his parents about Loux and Amos' abuse. Moreover, the grown-up Loux and her brother don't seem to have any problem with what Oscar did, seeming to view him as some kind of savior. Wouldn't life be a little more complex?

It's as if the movie dictated that all of its characters have only one single choice, designed to move the plot forward, with no other possible choices available to complicate matters. Just about everything feels slightly disconnected. In transferring Dickens' 1838 novel story to the contemporary screen, writer-director John Swab doesn't seem to have asked how modern times might impact this kind of criminal scheme. Despite fine performances by Forsythe, Perlman, and Mark Boone Junior as the "Fagin" figures and Whitlock Jr. as a private eye, the movie doesn't quite click. Perhaps if Run with the Hunted had captured a genuine sense of being lost, it might have felt more moving.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Run with the Hunted's violence. How did it make you feel? How much is actually shown? Is it designed to be shocking or thrilling? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What other choices could Oscar have made when he found out about his neighbors' abusive father?

  • What goes wrong in the scene in which Peaches handles a gun? Could this incident have been avoided?

  • Why do you think people choose to tell stories about children in peril? Does it make sense that some of the kids who are in the movie aren't old enough to actually see the movie?

  • How does this story compare to Oliver Twist? How does it translate to the modern age?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills and drama

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