Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 16+
Violent, complex Iraq war drama is rough, tough, thrilling.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this war drama/thriller is full of very realistic, graphic violence and danger -- shootings, death by explosion, images of dead bodies -- the consequences of these acts are never taken lightly, and they're never depicted as mere "action." Ultimately, it's an intellectually and philosophically stimulating movie that offers parents and older teens the chance to talk about everything from current events to the overall human condition. That said, you can also expect lots of strong language (including many uses of "f--k"), some smoking and drinking, and some crude jokes/sex references.
- Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does what's shown here compare to the explosions and shoot-'em-up scenes of more mainstream Hollywood blockbusters? Which has more impact?
- How does the movie portray the United States' invasion of Iraq? Is it different from the way it's been presented in other movies and TV shows? How so?
- Is Sgt. James a hero or a fool? Does he take unnecessary risks or necessary ones? Does his attachment to a local Iraqi boy improve either of their lives?
The good stuff
Positive messages: The movie isn't afraid to tackle tough questions without easy answers. If war is, in fact, hell, then why is it so exciting? If the United States' liberation of Iraq was so welcome, why do insurgents fill the streets with explosive devices? Why do the men of the Army's Explosive Ordinance Demolitions group choose to do this work? Are there abstract -- or real -- political goals worth giving one's life for?
Positive role models: The movie offers a complex portrait of the high-stakes work of volunteer Army and soldiers in Iraq -- and the characters consequently have many shades of gray. Are the men who do this work lunatics or
heroes? Is there any "safe" way to defuse bombs in a war zone? Is the
reckless work of Sgt. James the bravery of a champion
or the recklessness of a fool?
What to watch for
Violence: Extensive realistic war violence, including (but not limited to) explosions, shootings, fighting, and more. Characters are killed on-screen by bombs and wounded by bullets, dead bodies are seen (including one of a young boy that's intended to contain a bomb -- like a grisly Trojan Horse), and there's lots of blood.
Sexy stuff: Some crude jokes and references to sexual activity; mild cleavage.
Language: Strong language throughout, including "f--k" (and its variations), "s--t," "dick," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh God," and more -- it's a realistic interpretation of the the vulgar, salty talk of soldiers in a combat zone.
Consumerism: Scenes set in grocery stores include some visible brands.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters smoke and also drink to excess in one scene.