Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that violence -- both graphic and implied -- permeates this film (just as it did Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg's last collaboration, A History of Violence). From the first scene (which shows a brutal throat cutting) on, it's clear that kids and teens aren't the intended audience. Women are manhandled, men are murdered, babies are kidnapped, sons are betrayed, and sexual acts are forced, with little or no emotion. There's also smoking, drinking, strong language, and full nudity. It all serves a complex storyline that yields an intriguing film. But if you're not a Cronenberg fan, you may walk away stunned and appalled.
Tatiana and Nikolai share a tender kiss. All other scenes of sex/nudity involve women clearly under the influence of force and/or coercion. One of these disturbing scenes shows a woman having intercourse (her breasts and bottom are bare) while her eyes are glazed over, as if she's completely disconnected from the act. Images include full nudity, though it's artfully staged so that the camera doesn't linger too long on genitalia (viewers just get flashes of them).
Brutal and nearly unrelenting, whether outright graphic or implied. In the opening scene, the throat of a man sitting in a barber shop chair is slit while the camera zooms up close; later, mobsters cut off his fingers so that there won't be any fingerprints (also shown in close-up). A young girl collapses in a pool of blood, Semyon beats his son at the drop of a hat, and Kirill then takes out his frustrations on others. A particularly bloody fight unfolds in a bathhouse, where a naked Nikolai goes up against two clothed intruders bearing knives. One ends up with a dagger in his eyeballs (again, seen up close). Accompanying all of this is a cacophony of disturbing sounds of bones crunching and flesh being hacked to pieces. Women are raped and coerced into sex.
Many uses of "f--k," "bitch," and "whore."
Murder, deception, brutality, kidnapping, smuggling, homophobia -- there's a panoply of questionable behavior on display here.
Occasional: Business card for a Russian restaurant, champagne label, Mercedes Benz.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Alcohol fuels the mayhem and seemingly numbs characters to their acts of violence (in a few scenes at a brothel, men drink from liquor bottles before they have sex -- one of them forcibly -- with the women). The young girl, Tatiana, has track marks on her arms, proof that she was drugged so she wouldn't fight her unfortunate circumstances. The men smoke endlessly, and there's social drinking and smoking in the restaurant.