Son of a Gun

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Son of a Gun Movie Poster Image
Violent, vivid Aussie gangster film too edgy for most teens.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's easy to be tempted by ill-gotten gains, but if you keep your perspective and take control of the situation, you can correct yourself if you stray down the wrong path.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though the main character works his way out of a tough situation, his behavior isn't admirable, and he resorts to some iffy behavior to get back on track. The other characters are too far gone down the road of corruption and crime to count.


A man is dropped from a height; blood pools under his dead body. Suicide attempt by stabbing, blood gurgling from neck. A man is shot, with a gory, bloody stomach wound. A man beats up a woman, whipping her in the face with a belt, throwing her around a room, and trying to choke her. Guns and shooting. Gun butt to the face. Stun gun zapping. Punching. Man slapping a girl. Torturing a man for information. Homemade prison weapons. Suggested prison rape. Car chase.


Topless women briefly shown in a strip club. Naked male butt. Woman goes skinny dipping but keeps her back to the camera. Kissing. Suggested sex under the water. Suggested sex in train bathroom. Bikini girls as window dressing. A naked man is tortured in a freezer (only his butt is shown).


Almost constant use of "f--k." Plus "faggot," "s--t," "idiot," "d--k," "prick."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character, said to be 19, drinks a bottle of beer. A minor character is a drug dealer, shown with Ecstasy pills. A secondary character snorts cocaine. Cigarette smoking. Social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Son of a Gun is an Australian gangster movie filled with strong, bloody violence, including death and lots of blood. Guns are frequently fired, and there are scenes of men beating up women. Women's breasts and a man's butt are briefly shown, and there's kissing and suggested sex between the two leads on more than one occasion. "F--k" is used almost constantly, practically like punctuation. The main character, who's said to be 19, is seen drinking a beer, a young woman drinks and smokes cigarettes, a minor character is shown to be a drug dealer (pills), and another minor character snorts cocaine. Despite the strong material, it does feel somewhat removed from reality. And while the young character is led down the wrong path, he remains a good person and does what he can to take control of and correct his situation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written July 4, 2020
Adult Written bymoverateroflove... June 30, 2020

Violent movie but yet teens can watch this!

This movie is violent with plenty of intense scenes! My 13 year old kid watched it and said it was fine! So it wasn't that intense but intense!
Kid, 8 years old January 19, 2015

No! This show is too innapropiate for children!

This movie is not for children. Only for mature people ages 17 and up. People can say f**k, b**ch, n**ga. No. I don't think this is funny. This movie shoul... Continue reading

What's the story?

Nineteen-year-old J.R. (Brenton Thwaites) is sent to prison for six months for committing a small crime. While inside, he catches the attention of notorious Australian gangster Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor) when J.R. attempts to defend his meek cell mate. Brendan protects J.R. from a deadly gang of prisoners; subsequently, J.R. becomes part of Brendan's gang, and, when he gets out, a crucial part of a jailbreak. Living the high life, J.R. meets the gangster's moll, Tasha (Alicia Vikander), and unwisely falls in love. Then, a gold heist fails to go as planned, and J.R.'s entire world starts to come crashing down.

Is it any good?

Despite some shortcomings, Son of a Gun is tough and vivid, and it's perfectly enjoyable in the moment. After making prize-winning short films, Australian filmmaker Julius Avery based his first feature film loosely on his own troubled life. The result is fairly conventional, employing all of the usual chestnuts of the gangster genre. The relationships between the three main characters, for example, go all the way back to Gilda (1946) and have been done many times since.

Part of the movie's freshness comes from its Australian setting, which adds a bit of grit where fedoras used to be. McGregor is totally committed to his role, mixing both a threatening vehemence and a kindly sympathy that makes him fascinating, someone to look up to. Thwaites seems a bit too pretty for his role -- he's given a facial scar to make him look tougher -- but he manages the untested innocence that his role requires.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Son of a Gun's violence. Does all the shooting, fighting, blood, and gore help or harm the movie? Is it thrilling or shocking? Is it necessary to tell this story?

  • Does J.R. seem too young for drinking? For his sexual relationship with Tasha? For guns? What's the difference between these three things, and why does age matter in relation to them?

  • Is J.R. an admirable character? Do you think he's intended to seem "cool" to younger viewers?

  • What 's the appeal of gangster films, and why have they lasted for so many decades?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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