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"COMMANDMENTS"
(1997) (Aidan Quinn, Courteney Cox) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Moderate Minor Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None Minor Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Mild Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A man blames God for his recent major bad luck and decides to enact revenge by breaking all of the Ten Commandments.
PLOT:
Seth Warner (AIDAN QUINN) is having more than his share of bad luck. Not only did his wife, Karen, recently die, but his house is destroyed by a tornado, he's fired from his job, and to top it off, he's struck by lighting while cursing at God. He's taken in by his sister-in-law Rachel Luce (COURTENEY COX), a lawyer who's married to tabloid reporter Harry (ANTHONY LAPAGLIA). Seth believes that God has it in for him, so he decides to break all of the Ten Commandments. As he proceeds, his plan collides with the fact that Harry is having an affair with Melissa Murphy (PAMELA GRAY), a floozy he's trying to use to tarnish the reputation and image of a police Chief (PAT MCNAMARA). As Rachel and Harry's relationship falls apart, Seth gets closer to finishing his goal while also finding romance with Rachel.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of Quinn or Cox (TV's "Friends"), it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • AIDAN QUINN plays a man whose recent string of very bad luck causes him to blame God. His decision to break all of the Ten Commandments might not sit well with those who consider that blasphemous and/or immoral.
  • COURTENEY COX plays a woman whose philandering husband drives her into the arms of her brother-in-law.
  • ANTHONY LAPAGLIA plays a two-timing tabloid reporter, who beyond having an affair and lying about it, doesn't care about anyone else but himself.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    This is somewhat of an interesting film that has occasional bright spots, but ultimately doesn't work that well as a composite piece. Quinn and Cox are as charismatic as ever, and you'll root for them to end up in each other's arms. Lapaglia convincingly plays the scumbag, philandering husband -- the most interesting, but not likeable character. One only wishes that they had a better script to work with and a little bit more of a production budget. The special effects -- an approaching tornado in one, and a similar hurricane in another -- are extremely fake looking in today's world of high art special effects. While they would have worked ten to fifteen years ago, today they distract from the film's aesthetics. Other scenes, include hthe occasional weird tinting of the print, are even more disconcerting. Certain scenes -- particularly the ones where the Quinn/Cox romance is hinted at and then blossoms -- work very well and you only wish that there were more of them. And you'll want more humor, something that a film about breaking commandments as revenge upon God desperately needs. As drama, it comes off as somewhat sacrilegious, while a more humorous take -- which would still be seen that way by some -- would at least soften the blow. As it is, the film just kind of wallows around not knowing what it wants to be, or where it wants to go. As said before, with a stronger script and a more sure handed direction, this could have been a more enjoyable, and thought-provoking movie. As it is, its few good parts are the only things that bring our rating up to a 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Sexual encounters, very brief nudity, and some rough language give this film its R rating. Several scenes show sexual relations and movement/sounds, while the brief glimpse of a woman's bare breast is seen while a woman puts on her bathing suit. Quinn breaks the adultery commandment by sleeping with his sister-in-law, and many "f" words are heard throughout the movie. The film's tone toward religion where the main character blames God and decides to enact "revenge," might not sit well with those with strong religious convictions. While it would make for a good topic of parent/child conversation, many may find it too blasphemous to see. In addition, the fact that the main character commits (or more accurately tries to commit) suicide (to break the "kill" commandment) and then is spiritually and symbolically reborn, sends a very bad message to young impressionable minds. The fact that he does that is major, but worse yet is that he survives and is a better person because of it. That's not a good message to send to troubled children who've contemplated that desperate act. For those above reasons, we strongly suggest that you examine the content before deciding if any children should see this film.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Seth drinks at a bar and later appears to be a bit drunk.
  • People drink in the bar in several different scenes.
  • Harry has a drink in the same bar.
  • Melissa pours Harry a drink.
  • Seth has drinks for himself and Rachel while they're on a boat.
  • Seth and Rachel have been drinking wine with dinner and two empty bottles are on the table.
  • Seth is drunk when Harry picks a fight with him.
  • Rachel and Melissa drink wine while waiting for Harry to come home.
  • Harry drinks again in the bar.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Harry cuts himself shaving and has a small, bloody cut on his face.
  • Harry's a little bloody after some guys beat him up in jail.
  • Harry's lip and chin are bloody after fighting with Seth who later is seen with a bloody elbow wound.
  • Harry's ear is slightly bloody after Seth fires a shot at him.
  • A man on the beach cuts open the belly of a dead, beached whale. Fluids squirt out and all sorts of gross, grimy goo and fish pour out. He then sees a hand and pulls Seth from the belly.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers may find Seth's decision to break the Ten Commandments (and actually doing that) as having both types of attitude. In one scene he says about God "He's a raging psychotic" and in another he says, "To hell with God."
  • Harry (as the opening narrator) says that he doesn't believe in God, and that believing in anything too much isn't a good thing. He also later says, "I break five to six commandments every day before lunch."
  • Harry has an affair while married to Rachel, and lies when she asks him about it. Later, however, she has an affair with Seth.
  • Harry doesn't seem too interested in the fact that Seth is suicidal when Rachel calls telling him that, and as a matter of fact only cares about himself.
  • The police chief drops Harry's tape recorder into a cup of coffee.
  • To break two of the commandments, Seth steals Harry's guitar collection and then admits the theft to the police and tells them that Harry agreed to participate in this as an insurance scam.
  • Harry calls the Irish police chief, "mick."
  • Harry rips a telephone from a jail wall to prevent others from using it.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • In a flashback scene, Seth wakes up and can't find Karen who's gone swimming. He panics and races about, trying to figure out what to do.
  • A brief scene involves a tornado hitting and damaging Seth's house with him inside it.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Aimed at Harry by Melissa as she forces him to undress and have sex (neither of which is seen).
  • Handgun: Harry takes the above gun from Melissa's house and later aims it at Seth who welcomes death. Seth then takes the gun and shoots it at Harry, just nicking his ear.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "D*ckhead," "P*ssy whipped," "Putz," "Geez," "...a hard on for... (non- sexual)," "Bastard," "Scum," "Shut up," "Bitch" (from a woman about a woman), "Piece of tail," and "Piss."
  • Seth stands of the edge of the roof of a building contemplating suicide in one scene, and then does jump from a lighthouse to kill himself in another. The fact that he survives and seems happy and a better person because of this might give troubled kids the wrong idea.
  • The police chief gives the "f' you" gesture to Harry.
  • Rachel does a trick where you hang a spoon from your nose.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A few scenes have very minor tense music in them.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 14 "f" words (4 used sexually as are two uses of "bang"), 11 "s" words, 4 slang terms involving male genitals (3 "d" and 1 "c" words), 2 slang terms involving female genitals (the "p" word), 11 hells, 4 damns, 1 "ass" word (used with "hole"), 1 S.O.B., 1 crap, and 2 uses each of "God damn" and "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Oh God," "God," "By Christ," and "By God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Harry and Melissa have sex and we see this from a distance. She's on top and movement is seen and sounds are heard, but no nudity is seen.
  • A woman's (Karen) bare breast is briefly seen as she puts on her bathing suit.
  • Seth carves a small, wooden statue of a naked female god (that's briefly seen).
  • It's implied that Harry and Melissa have sex after she forces him at gunpoint to undress (which isn't seen). A good amount of cleavage on her part, however, is seen and she admits to having an affair with the police chief "three or four times a week."
  • Seth and Rachel are in bed together. She's seen in her bra and he's shirtless. Later, he's seen on top of her and the side of her bare breast is briefly seen. Then Seth is on top of her (under the covers) and sexual movement is seen. Later, she's on top of him (just a close up of their faces) and movement is seen and some sounds are heard. Many scenes later, she tells Harry that she's pregnant by Seth.
  • After Harry figures out that Seth had sex with Rachel, he says that he had sex with Karen saying, "She wanted a dirty f*ck" and "I bent her over the couch and banged her."
  • Harry comes into Melissa's house and hears the sounds of sex. He then sees just the upper body of the police chief on top of her, and movement is seen and sounds are heard, but no nudity is observed.
  • SMOKING
  • Harry often smokes through the movie while Seth, Rachel and Melissa each smoke one or two cigarettes. Others in the backgrounds of shots also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Seth must deal with the death of his wife, Karen.
  • Harry and Rachel's marriage is shaky and both then have affairs that end their relationship.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Why bad things or bad luck happens and why certain people get more than their fair share of it. Seth asks why have a God if He can't stop bad things from happening.
  • Suicide, and how one usually won't survive such an attempt, or be a better person for "failing" (surviving) it. In this movie, Seth jumps from a lighthouse (to kill himself), but later is found alive. His apparent positive "rebirth" is a bad signal for troubled children.
  • The Ten Commandments and what they stand for.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Seth is hit by lighting (not actually seen) and ends up in the hospital.
  • A tornado hits and damages Seth's house.
  • Harry comes home to find his den wrecked and his guitars missing.
  • Harry rips a telephone from a jail wall to prevent others from using it. Other inmates then jump him and beat him up.
  • Seth and Harry get into a fight in an alley outside a bar. Seth's drunk and Harry's mad that Seth set him up with the police. Harry has the upper hand (pushing Seth into the wall, kicking him on the ground) until he says that he had sex with Karen and then Seth begins to beat up Harry (many punches). Harry then gets a metal pipe and hits Seth with it and the fight then ends.
  • Rachel slaps Seth after he says he shouldn't get involved with her (after sleeping with her).
  • Harry aims a gun at Seth who welcomes death. When Harry can't shoot him, Seth takes the gun, and after a moment, fires it at Harry just nicking his ear.
  • Seth leaps from the top of a lighthouse to his presumed death.



  • Reviewed May 2, 1997

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