A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A club manager with seedy connections refuses to help his police officer brother. A tragedy forces him to reconsider, and he becomes a driving force in helping his brother expose a major New York drug operation.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of violence, including many bloody, gory scenes: Many characters are shot -- a couple of them at close range, execution style; one man has the back of his head shot off; a character slits his own throat rather than talk to the police; someone is beaten up by the police; a character jumps out the window and onto a fence; etc.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No sex scenes, but several scenes of Bobby and Amada making out/groping while clothed; two women dance topless on the club's bar; Joseph and his wife embrace.
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Near-constant cursing: many, many uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.
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Products & Purchases
NYPD, Sheraton hotel, Blondie's disco songs.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Clubgoers and major characters do an assortment of drugs, including snorting cocaine, taking uppers/downers, etc. Many scenes include characters taking/dealing drugs or drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while young kids probably won't be interested, older teens who like crime dramas may be drawn to this Joaquin Phoenix-Mark Wahlberg film. Like most mob dramas, there's lots of strong language and a great deal of bloody violence and illicit behavior (drugs and alcohol are everywhere, especially nightclub scenes). In addition to the execution-style killings and police ambushes, there are a few scenes of a couple intensely making out and a shot of two topless, drunk women dancing at a club. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's something undeniably heart-stopping about watching an undercover cop or informant in action. At any moment the jig could be up and the fearless hero killed. Phoenix perfectly conveys the terror of infiltrating a crime organization, but the stakes never seem quite as high as they do for Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed. It's difficult not to compare the two films, since both involve a character with a connection to cops and mobsters, bloody executions, a protagonist with a hidden identity, and a fine performance by Mark Wahlberg. But director James Gray's entertaining, poignant crime drama doesn't come close to matching the suspense, originality, or virtuoso acting of Martin Scorsese's Oscar winner.
It's utterly predictable that Bobby makes the "right" decision, but Phoenix's masterly way of portraying vulnerable, roguish men is engrossing, even as you can tell several scenes in advance what bloody confrontations lie ahead. Mendes is lovely, but Amada and Bobby's passion doesn't seem destined to withstand at-close-range executions and constant threats from Russian mobsters. The best scenes, as is to be expected, are those between Duvall, Phoenix, and Wahlberg. Each of them is so gifted that you end up wishing the film were less formulaic -- and less bloody.
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Our Editors Recommend
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