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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (2hr 00min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
September 5, 2009
September 12, 2009

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ... Has it been that long since...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Andell Entertainment, Bevan-Fellner, Relativity Media, Studio Canal, Universal Pictures, Working Title Films
Distribution (US): Universal Studios
Director(s): Kevin Macdonald
Producer(s): Paul Abbott, Tim Bevan, Liza Chasin, Eric Fellner, Andrew Hauptman, Eric Hayes, Debra Hayward, Kwame Parker, Jennifer J. Thomas, E. Bennett Walsh
Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Billy Ray, Paul Abbott (TV series)
Cinematography/Camera: Rodrigo Prieto
Music: Alex Heffes
Film Editing: Justine Wright
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Art Direction: Mark Friedberg
Viewed on Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP and McK.

Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is onto something ... and into something. He has 48 hours to get off the something he is onto but will never get out of the something he is into. While no one can help Collins get out of the something he has gotten himself into, college buddy Cal "Ginzer" McAffrey (Russell Crowe) of the Washington Globe newspaper does his best to get the Congressman off the something he is onto. A noble cause to be sure but McAffrey's path to the noble destination is ignoble. A noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path.

Newcomer to the Washington Globe staff is Della Frye (Rachel McAdams). Della does her best to learn the newspaper ropes at the expense of this often illegal case with Congressman Collins at its center. At the helm of it all is Editor Cameron "Cam" Lynne (Helen Mirren).

The story opens with purse snatcher junkie drug dealer Deshaun Stagg (LaDell Preston) running away from someone, knocking people down and creating chaos in the traffic through which he darts. It seems Stagg, who steals purses, briefcases and the like from people then tries to sell them back to their owners to get money to feed his addition, lifted a briefcase with highly incriminating evidence in it ... incriminating for Congressman Collins.

Soon, Robert Bingham (Michael Berresse), the one from whom Stagg was running, finds his target and murders him execution style with gunfire to the spine and the head. Duke University MBA graduate business man turned pizza delivery boy, Vernon Sando witnesses the murder of Stagg and becomes Bingham's second target -- another successful target of Bingham's. But Sando doe snot die and lies in a hospital bed critical, non responsive and comatose. Sando survives but becomes a serious risk for Bingham ... and key target of Bingham. Sando survives but only for a while. Bingham, a trained expert in such matters, soon finds his target. And this is a PG-13 film! My goodness! Has it been that long since such murderous content was rated R? I can tell you about how long ago it was. Around seven to nine years ago.

While all this is transpiring, Congressman Collins has begun a hearing against PointCorp, a wealthy private security contractor vying for the lucrative attempts of the Defense Department to privatize and outsource some military practices in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the onset of the hearing Collins relates news he had just heard that his key Research Assistant, Sonia Baker (Maria Thayer), who was identified only by her staff ID badge, has mysteriously died on the tracks of a subway train.

Collins broke into tears as he told the hearing attendees of the news. His tears generated rumors which coaxed an admission of an affair between the married Congressman Collins and single Baker. Also rumors grow that question whether Baker's death was an accident; that it may have been suicide because of the alleged affair with the Congressman, an affair that garnered Baker $26,000 per month -- and not from tax dollars. Not directly anyway.

Under heavy pressure to lay low by senior representative George Fergus (Jeff Daniels) and because Collins' wife, Annie (Robin Wright Penn) would not let him in the door, Collins appears at McAffrey's doorstep for a place to stay since three dozen reporters were camped at his doorstep ... and for "counseling" since McAffrey was Collins' roommate in college.

While Rep. Angus insists on Collins lying low, very low, McAffrey builds a plan that requires Collins to be open and proactive. Who is right? And why such polarity? The story tells. It takes a long time, 120 minutes, to tell the story.

This is not a check-your-brain-at-the-door film and it is a true hardcore R-13. And it is a full two hours, give or take a few seconds. In addition the density of assaults or morality and ethics is high, especially high in content revealed by the Wanton Violence/Crime and Impudence/Hate investigation areas.

One could use a curse-free filter to make the film almost tolerable. But the seven uses of the most foul of the foul words, the 38 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary and the ten uses of God's name in vain represent a density of 2.2 per minute. However, the DVD is not closed captioned so a curse-free filter would not work. Even if it were closed captioned the 2.2 per minute density would force the curse-free filter to delete so much of the audio that what would be left would not make much sense. And even if the curse-free filter was set up to show the closed captioning with the suspect words substituted with non-offensive words, the viewer would spend more time reading than watching. What then would be the worth of the film? That is your call. We tell you the truth about the content so you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision for yourself whether a film is fit. We tell you what is there ... you decide.

Check out the content discussions in the individual investigation area summary discussions below. Better yet closely inspect the detailed listings in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 6 out of 100
This investigation area is one of four found to be R-equivalent due to content. With an area score of six out of 100 the violence/crime content falls deeply in the scoring range earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. Graphic attempted gunfire murder. Repeated gunfire to kill. Graphic rescue killing by police. A rather intense beating. Living a life of crime. And more. This stuff proselytizes, folks. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not. God knew what He was talking about in 1 Cor. 15:33. And in Proverbs 16:29. And in ....... Whether intentional or even knowingly, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry agree with God.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Forty five times someone utters some form of profanity, seven of them the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8 plus many others] Multiple times someone lies, is willing to lie or coaches to lie. [Rev. 21:8] And the hatred of abortion is considered a routine option.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 67 out of 100
With an area score of 67, this is the only investigation area which revealed true PG-13 content but this time not due to any nudity or intercourse as are typical of PG-13 films nowadays. All the talk regarding extramarital intercourse, the crude references to anatomy and sexual deeds, the still photos of sadomasochistic behavior and other such presentations cost the film about one third of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. [Gal. 5:19, Eph. 5:3, Eph. 5:4] The listing in the Findings/Scoring section itemizes these and the additional examples of sexually oriented content.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 14 out of 100
Sadly enough, this film for 13 year olds is filled with consumption of alcoholic beverages and includes "obligatory" references to illegal drug activity/consumption/addiction and crime to feed drug addiction plus portrayal of drug intoxication. Only once is smoking noted, though. I don't know when if ever filmmakers are going to listen or even hear the professionals about the influence of such content in movies. But, in a hard and cold perspective I doubt they care since the teen market is the most lucrative stratum of moviegoers. The American College of Physicians (ACP) has a lot to say.

A 2002 study by the ACP revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers agreed four years later. The bottom line? The focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - 47 out of 100
    God's name is used in vain nine times but each without the four letter expletive. But that the uses of His mane in vain are not uttered with the four letter expletive does not abate the consequences of using His name in vain. [Deut. 5:11] Adultery [Col. 3:5 - 10], mockery of God and mockery of the Christian faith [Gal. 6:7] rounds out the reasons for the loss of nearly 50% of the starting 100 points in this investigation area.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 81 out of 100
    There is cold blooded execution style gunfire murder and another gunfire murder while the victim lies in comatose in a hospital bed. PG-13, huh? One of the attempted murder victims, Sando does not die ... until the assailant, Bingham finishes the heinous deed while Sando lies unresponsive and comatose in a hospital bed from Bingham's first attempt to murder him. A fine behavior-by-example template for our 13 year old population. One of the murders, the murder of Sonia Baker, is done by pushing her off a subway platform onto the tracks in front of the train. Sonia being pushed is not seen nor is the gore of her body mutilated by the train, but the devices used gave enough implication and suggestion such as the script saying "identified by her staff badge." [Deut. 5:17, Prov. 28:17]


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" it might seem, and its effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be a man or woman or child, the act of demonstrating violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health agencies to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; ...
  • Eph. 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking to God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]
  • Col. 3:5 - 10 Mortify [nekraa: deprive of strength, make dead, destroy the strength of] therefore your members [melos: parts of the body given up to criminal intercourse] which are upon the earth; fornication [parneia: adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, relatives etc.], uncleanness [akatharsia: lustful living, impure motives], inordinate affection [pathos: depraved, vile passions], evil concupiscence [apithumia: lusting after, desire for what is forbidden], and covetousness [pleonexia: greedy desire to have more, avarice], which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blashpemia: slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another's good name or impious and reproachful speech injurious to God], filthy communication [aischrologia: foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
  • Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked [mukterizo {mook-tay-rid'-zo}: to turn up the nose or sneer at, deride]. A man reaps what he sows.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Deut. 5:17 Thou shalt not kill ["kill" is ratsach {raw-tsakh'}: murder, slay, premeditated, as avenger].
  • Prov. 28:17 A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    State of Play (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 6 out of 100
  • a man running to escape, assaulting those in his path
  • graphic attempted murder by gunfire
  • scene of a murder victim
  • talk of suicide
  • extortion
  • petty theft
  • living a life of crime
  • withholding evidence, repeatedly, once resulting in murder
  • firearm for offense
  • stalking to kill
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • illegal reporting ethics
  • beating
  • political corruption, frequent
  • attempted murder by gunfire
  • rescue killing by police

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • seven uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • 38 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • confession of willingness to lie
  • coaching to lie
  • lies to extort information, repeatedly
  • abortion as an option

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 67 out of 100
  • admission of adultery
  • crude reference to oral sex
  • still photo of adult in underwear
  • dressing to maximize the human form and/or skin exposure
  • reference to extramarital sex, repeatedly
  • anatomical reference, repeatedly
  • still photos of sadomasochism
  • admission of bisexuality
  • pregnancy by adultery

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 14 out of 100
  • song of praising drinking and drunkenness
  • admission of crime to feed drug addiction
  • drunkenness
  • bar
  • reference to illegal drug dealing and consumption
  • reference to drug intoxication
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drug intoxication
  • smoking
  • booze, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - 47 out of 100
  • Ten uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive
  • adultery, counter adultery and references to adultery throughout
  • mockery of God and of the Christian faith

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 81 out of 100
  • murder by gunfire, twice
  • murder by pushing off a subway platform

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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