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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This is a very pessimistic movie. It takes place in a world in which girls can get mistreated by their parents and run away, only to find no other options besides prostitution or stripping, and in which police are hamstrung by the law. Not even catching the bad guy seems to help much, in the grand scheme of things.
Positive Role Models
The main police sergeant is a brave man who's dedicated to helping others and risks his life and job to catch the bad guy and protect the good guys. He truly seems to care. But he's the only positive example here.
Violence & Scariness
A serial killer kidnaps, ties up, tortures, rapes, and murders prostitutes and runaways. All of this is discussed frequently, though only one victim is shown. She gets away, but she's shown being tied up and taunted; her rape is described verbally. She also talks vaguely about being abused as a child, and she's chased, threatened, and terrorized several other times during the movie. Male characters are beaten and shot in the head. A decomposed body is briefly shown. There's some general yelling and tension, and a bloody nose is shown. The movie closes with photographs of many of the killer's real-life victims.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some scenes take place inside a strip club, and several topless women are shown. One or two naked female bottoms are shown. Prostitutes are shown. The killer's sexual activities are discussed; he explains that he goes to prostitutes because he doesn't like his wife to perform certain oral activities on him.
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Language is very strong and includes "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word," "c--t," "bitch," "whore," "Goddamn," "hell," "Jesus," and more.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The teen prostitute is shown smoking lots of cigarettes. She's given some crystal meth before going onstage and stripping for the first time. She also snorts some cocaine and overdoses, but she survives. The hero drinks a whisky at home after work.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Frozen Ground is based on a true story about a man who raped and killed many women in Alaska. Though not everything is shown, the material is very strong and isn't recommended for kids or teens. A young woman (played by High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens) is kidnapped, tied up, and taunted. She later describes being raped, though it's not shown. Male characters are beat up and shot in the head. Scenes take place in a strip club, and several topless women are shown; sex acts are described. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," the "N" word, and more. The teen character is shown smoking many cigarettes, trying crystal meth for the first time, and overdosing (non-fatally) on cocaine. The movie closes with photographs of many of the killer's real-life victims. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As written and directed by Scott Walker, THE FROZEN GROUND isn't great, but it's surprisingly effective, thanks to its no-frills approach and its care with the actors and characters. Walker keeps his restless camera constantly roving, which is fine when something is happening, but headache-inducing during static conversation scenes. Also, Walker is clearly intending reverence toward the real-life victims, gives the movie an underlying dreariness. Yet at some point, it starts to work. The characters have an inner life, and the performances are strong, especially a steely-eyed Cage, who here has his best part in some time. As the killer, Cusack is soft spoken but also repellent. He's not an object of fascination, which is a unique and refreshing approach. The movie takes a few silly shortcuts here and there -- and a pimp played by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson seems to be the center for most of them -- but overall this is a decent effort.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.