The Corrupted

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
The Corrupted Movie Poster Image
Violent, profane, but entertaining British gangster movie.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 103 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Corruption and crime rule the day here. Family/being a good parent is a key theme but arguably isn't achieved.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The police are generally as corrupt as the criminals. All characters are involved in criminal activity to some degree. Male-dominated storyline.


Bloody, gory violence throughout. Characters are shot, beaten, strangled, hit, and stabbed with various instruments. While escaping from the police, a criminal runs through a school and shoots two pupils and a teacher. In one graphic scene, a fight breaks out, which results in a character being repeatedly hit in the face and head with an iron -- their injuries are graphic. Another character has their throat slit, and another is thrown off a high-rise building. A dead body is cut up with a chainsaw -- although it happens offscreen, viewers do see the blood spatter. In another scene, a character is shot and then buried alive. A character is killed after being deliberately hit with a car. A parent and child are kidnapped. A character participates in a boxing match.


Characters kiss and are then seen in bed together the following morning. Incriminating photos show a character in a compromising sexual encounter.


Extreme profanity throughout includes "bastard," "c--t," "wanker," and variants of "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A plot line revolves around cocaine smuggling. A character is seen sniffing cocaine. Photos are seen of a character making lines of cocaine. Characters drink champagne at a party and wine at a dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Corrupted is a British gangster movie with explicit violence and extremely strong language from start to finish. There's a high body count, with characters getting shot, strangled, hit with cars, and thrown off buildings. In one scene, a character opens fire in a school, injuring two pupils and a teacher. Fight scenes are long, bloody, and graphic -- in one, a character is hit repeatedly with an iron, resulting in gory injuries. Other gruesome scenes include a character being buried alive, a woman's throat being slit, and a body being dismembered with a chainsaw. In the movie’s climax, a mother and son are kidnapped. Language includes constant use of "c--t," "wanker," "bastard," and variants of "f--k." Vast quantities of cocaine are seen throughout, and one character is seen sniffing the drug. A set of photos show someone making lines of cocaine while participating in an incriminating sexual encounter. There are no positive messages of note, although the importance of being a good parent is discussed, even if it's not achieved.

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What's the story?

Set in London, THE CORRUPTED finds Liam McDonagh (Sam Claflin) recently released from prison and determined to win back the trust of his wife and son. But unbeknownst to Liam, his brother Sean (Joe Claflin) has become involved with shady crime figure Clifford Cullen (Timothy Spall). Dragged back into London’s criminal underworld, Liam must now protect his family from Cullen's thugs -- as well as a corrupt police force.

Is it any good?

Fans of gritty gangster movies will find plenty to enjoy in this fast-paced, action-packed film. Set in a deliberately moody London, The Corrupted has bloody violence, shady deals, dirty police officers, chase scenes, and double-crossing. It has a B-movie charm with an A-list cast -- all of whom are clearly enjoying themselves. Sam Claflin is cast against type but puts in a believable performance as ex-con Liam, who finds himself back in a world he's desperate to escape. The story is dominated by a male presence -- which, when you have the likes of Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker's Naomi Ackie -- seems a waste. But Spall in particular is in fine form as crime lord Clifford Cullen and is ably supported by Noel Clarke and Hugh Bonneville.

The amount of double-crossing that occurs throughout the movie means that eventually it's a surprise when someone doesn't turn out to be corrupt, and some may feel cheated by the film's conclusion. But while not in the same league, The Corrupted is an admiring hat tip to classic British gangster movies such as The Long Good Friday and Get Carter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Corrupted. How did it make you feel? Was it thrilling or shocking? Are there any consequences? Why is that important?

  • The police in the movie are generally corrupt. How did that make you feel? Why is it important that people be able to trust the police?

  • Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Do you think it was necessary to the story?

  • What did you think to the ending of the movie? Were you satisfied by it?

Movie details

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