Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this heavy drama isn't for kids, even though it stars tween/teen favorites Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal. Not only does it deal with the many complicated political and cultural issues surrounding torture, but the dialogue -- which is focused on policy and intrigue -- will likely bore younger viewers. There's also plenty of violence, including explosions, shooting, and, yes, torture (there are difficult images of the victim's pain and the aggressor's visceral calculations). The torture victim appears naked in a small, dank cell, mostly in shadow. Other scenes show upset victims and negotiators; particularly wrenching is a young wife's anguished pleading that a CIA officer answer questions about her missing husband. Language includes some uses of "f--k" and other minor profanity.
Khalid and Fatima kiss a couple of times. Anwar appears naked in several scenes, usually shadowed; his nakedness (which is non-sexual) is a sign of his vulnerability (his body is bloodied and bruised from torture).
Brutal violence throughout, including torture, as well as explosions in crowded streets. An early scene shows a suicide bombing in North Africa in which a CIA agent dies in Douglas' lap (blood everywhere). Anwar is tortured repeatedly -- he's tied to a chair, beaten, choked, dragged, kicked, and electrified. Photos of martyrs show maimed bodies. In a tense, lengthy scene, Fatima runs to stop Khalid's suicide mission, with pounding percussion and fast cutting. A bombing near the end is catastrophic, killing multiple people and leaving others traumatized and bloody.
Several uses of "f--k," plus occasional other profanity, like "hell," "son of a bitch," and "goddammit."
Both "terrorists" and U.S. agents use underhanded tactics; parents and children are at odds.
Sony TV, Washington Post.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Several characters smoke cigarettes and cigars. Douglas drinks hard liquor to show despair; he also goes to a bar where he smokes an opium-like drug from a water pipe. Douglas appears drunk and upset.