A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Attempting to do no harm. Trying to help others. Themes around obsession and mental illness. Character accepts cash bribe for information.
Positive Role Models
Bruce is a reclusive author who shuns human contact and enters into an unhealthy relationship with an obsessive fan.
The main cast is predominantly White and male, with one female among the main characters. Some gender and ethnic diversity among the supporting cast. Australian and British actors cast as British and American characters. More than one language spoken.
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Violence & Scariness
Reference to shooting and death. Characters fire guns. One threatens to shoot intruders. People's lives threatened. Punches and kicks thrown in altercations. Strangulation. Character stabbed and shot. Blood spray but no gore. Fire, explosion, and burn victims.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shirtless character shown in bed alone.
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Language used includes "piss off," "f--k," "f---ing," "ass," "sod," "s--t," "bloody," "sons of bitches," "motherf----r," and "c--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character smokes cigarettes. They also drink hard liquor early in the morning. They are shown intoxicated and passing out when drunk. Reference to drug addiction and spending time in rehab.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Infernal Machine is a psychological thriller with threat, violence, strong language, and plenty of drinking and smoking. Guy Pearce stars as Bruce Cogburn, a reclusive author who becomes stalked by an obsessive fan. Bruce is traumatized by an event in his past and much of the movie is about him still struggling to cope with this. He lives in seclusion partly to avoid doing any harm to others, but this has little effect as his psychological state deteriorates. While the violence is mostly threatened rather than shown, guns are fired and there is shooting and stabbing off-camera, resulting in bloody injury and death. Swearing is strong and frequent, with multiple variations on "f--k" and one use of "c--t," as Bruce becomes more anxious and angry at the hidden identity of the stalker. Bruce is shown drinking and smoking often, and is shown blacking out from drunkenness at one point. Because most of the movie revolves around an isolated Bruce, there is very little diversity, although there is one main female character, and some gender and ethnic diversity among the supporting cast. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although it never reaches the cinematic heights to similar classics, this psychological thriller is a solid if overlong delve into what makes a traumatized author tick. In The Infernal Machine, Pearce is reliably resolute as a gruff English retired writer based in rural California who's withdrawn from public life, after his controversial bestseller proved to have tragic consequences. The tension steadily increases for the first hour or so. But things start to unravel -- and not in a good way -- when the script can't manage much more than lengthy, rambling exchanges between Bruce and various supporting players who start to become more important to the plot.
Pearce's irrepressible talent means that he just about manages to sell his character's muddled world view, despite being given little to work with on the page. But the movie's real undoing is the lack of a well-drawn adversary to play opposite him. This means that we never get the memorable moments provided by Seven, Misery, or the other movies that have a similar premise.
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.