Parents' Guide to

The 4th Company

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Extremely violent prison film inspired by true events.

Movie NR 2016 109 minutes
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Winner of numerous Ariel Awards -- Mexico's top film prize -- this movie is more of a brutal condemnation of the corruption of the Mexican prison system than it is a "football movie." Instead of rehabilitating the inmates, as so much of the news footage claims (the movie is based on actual events), the inmates are shown to be used as easily sacrificed pawns by the military elite. The constant violence serves to underscore the brutality of the system, making the violence on the football field seem tame by comparison.

In the world of The 4th Company, there are no "good guys," only the powerful and the powerless. And that news footage, reporting the stated goals of having American football in a Mexican penitentiary, seems to mock the idea expressed in so many Hollywood movies that sportsmanship and teamwork somehow make previously bad or at least troubled youngsters see the error of their ways and chart a new path toward good behavior. Even when the proverbial "scrappy underdogs" win, in this system, they still lose. It's what makes the movie so powerful, unique, and worthy of all the awards it has received.

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