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"PLUNKETT AND MACLEANE"
(1999) (Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two 18th century highwaymen carry out a criminal spree robbing aristocrat's coaches and in the process become anonymous celebrities in a wealthy English society.
PLOT:
It's London, 1748, and James Macleane (JONNY LEE MILLER) has been sent to debtors' jail until he's sober and able to pay his debts. His lucky break comes when a team of outlaws, led by Plunkett (ROBERT CARLYLE) literally crashes into his cell while attempting to rob a coach. Plunkett's partner is killed, but not before he swallows a valuable ruby, and both Macleane and Plunkett escape, but go their separate ways.

They're reunited, however, when both arrive in a cemetery to dig up that ruby and are arrested and sent to prison. Although they don't get along -- Macleane is more of a gentleman while Plunkett is an unkempt scoundrel -- they make a pact to get out by bribing the prison officials with the ruby.

Once free and desirous to head to America, but currently lacking the funding, the two then set out to form a partnership utilizing their best qualities. Macleane will hobnob with the aristocrats through his foppish friend, Lord Rochester (ALAN CUMMING), and find out the travel plans of the rich so that he and Plunkett can then rob them.

Their first catch is a coach carrying Chief Justice Lord Gibson (MICHAEL GAMBON) and his ravishing niece, Lady Rebecca (LIV TYLER). Since they're masked and nonviolent, with Macleane being particularly nice to Rebecca since he's previously fallen for her, the two become known as the Gentlemen bandits.

Nonetheless, Gibson wants them caught and puts the pressure on Chance (KEN STOTT), a determined, stodgy and humorless officer, to put an end to what's becoming a popular criminal spree. Yet, while posing as a gentleman and his servant, Macleane and Plunkett also become popular among the elite when the latter stands up to Gibson who doesn't yet realize they're the criminals he's after.

As their robberies continue and they become increasingly popular in both their civil and criminal personas, the two men begin to split over their ultimate goals. With Macleane enjoying the limelight and Plunkett only wanting to get enough money to head for America, the future of their ways soon comes into doubt.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast (the film does reunite two stars from the cult film "Trainspotting"), it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some strong violence, sexuality and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT CARLYLE plays a scruffy highwayman who robs from the rich, uses strong profanity and kills a few people in the process.
  • JONNY LEE MILLER plays his partner in crime who also uses strong profanity, kills several people, and sleeps with several women.
  • LIV TYLER plays a proper young lady who falls for the gentlemen bandits and even shoots a soldier near the end to allow them to escape.
  • KEN STOTT plays the sadistic officer whose goal is to capture the robbers. Along the way he tortures people, beats his own men, and kills an innocent man to make it look like the robbers did it. He also visits and beats a prostitute and reportedly bribed a government official.
  • ALAN CUMMING plays Maclean's foppish, aristocratic friend who briefly uses strong profanity and kills a soldier to allow his robber friends to escape.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated period drama/action yarn. Profanity is extreme with nearly 20 "f" words being used, along with a handful of other profanities and colorful phrases. Violence -- mostly via gunfire -- is extreme due to many people being killed, and also features some non- lethal bits including a man who briefly uses physical torture on others. Some of the violent acts do have bloody results, and some of those scenes -- including a near rape and a nearly successful hanging -- may also be tense and/or disturbing to some viewers.

    Due to the criminal behavior and that of the malicious officer after them, bad attitudes rate as extreme. Meanwhile, the "Sex/Nudity" category receives the same rating due to two brief sexual encounters that show movement and contain related sounds, but no nudity. Some sexually related comments also occur.

    Beyond related categories (suspenseful music), drinking (with one character reportedly being drunk) and brief smoking, the film's remaining categories are relatively void of any major objectionable content. While it's questionable how many kids will want to see this film, should you still be concerned about its appropriateness for them or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings.

    Of special note for those concerned with bright repetitive flashing of lights, some of that occurs in a scene late in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • As Macleane is thrown into debtors' prison, it's stated that he's drunk and will remain there until he's sober.
  • Macleane drinks from a flask.
  • A prisoner drinks.
  • Aristocrats playing card games have drinks.
  • Macleane has a drink.
  • People drink what looks like wine at another social gathering.
  • More people have drinks.
  • A person comes out of a coach with a drink.
  • Macleane and others drink what's presumably some sort of liquor.
  • Rochester states that he had quite a day and needs a stiff drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A man bleeds from the mouth and has other blood on him after he's been shot. After Chance tortures him and sticks his hand into the wound (not seen), his hand is consequently bloody.
  • We see a body being buried in a cemetery and later see what looks like worms crawling on the corpse's face (briefly seen and in the dark) after it's dug up.
  • Plunkett holds his gun on Macleane and makes him take a knife and cut open his former partner's dead body to retrieve a ruby. While we don't see the actual cutting, we hear the related sounds and see the men's reaction to this.
  • We see some dead bodies in prison, including one whose face is somewhat covered with bugs.
  • Having previously swallowed a ruby for safe keeping, we then see Plunkett straining to pass the stone (with Macleane watching). While we don't see anything objectionable, we do hear his straining as well as the eventual plinking sound of the stone landing in a tin/metal container.
  • Both a man's arm and his hand covering a wound are bloody.
  • Some blood runs out from a bullet wound in a man's chest.
  • We see a bit of blood from a person's nose.
  • We see what looks like a bloody wound on another man's body (but it's presumably faked).
  • Blood squirts out as a man is shot and blood splatter then covers the shooter's face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Obviously Macleane and Plunkett have both for their criminal ways, bribing their way out of prison (the official who takes the bribe has both) and they even dig up and cut open a former partner's body to retrieve a ruby.
  • Chance is a malicious officer who will do whatever it takes to catch his man, including torturing a wounded suspect, beating and kicking one of his own men, and killing an innocent man to make it look like the bandits were responsible. We also not only learn that he previously bribed Gibson to keep his record clean, but then see that he's visiting a brothel and roughs up a woman servicing him. He also threatens Lady Rebecca in a near rape-like situation.
  • We see some people putting on a cockfight.
  • One of the robbers calls the rotund Gibson, "Fat boy."
  • Lord Gibson tells Macleane that he sees the young man as being in a deficit of possessing gentlemanly attributes (basically telling him that he doesn't like him).
  • A woman who's getting married has both for having sex with Macleane just days before her wedding.
  • Lady Rebecca informs the robbers of her and her uncle's travel plans so that they can rob them.
  • We learn that Macleane spent all of the robbers' money.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be tense or unsettling to some viewers. They include the following:
  • Plunkett holds his gun on Macleane and makes him take a knife and cut open his former partner's dead body to retrieve a ruby. While we don't see the actual cutting, we hear the related sounds and see the men's reaction to this.
  • Chance makes one of his men kneel down in front of him and then forcibly stuffs the man's pay (a coin) into his mouth, making him swallow it. He then punches him several times and then repeatedly kicks him on the floor.
  • Chance hits a prostitute on the head, causing Plunkett to come out and struggle with him, until Chance hits him several times. Plunkett then pulls out a knife and holds it on Chance, but they're stopped there.
  • The next morning, Plunkett and Chance have a duel, where Plunkett gets off the first shot, knocking Chance to the ground (but he's saved by the bible in his clothing). Chance then demands that he get his turn and he fires, striking Plunkett in the arm.
  • Plunkett shoots a guard who fires his shot that strikes another man, killing him. Guards/soldiers then open fire on Plunkett and Macleane, riddling the carriage by them with bullet holes, and hitting Macleane with one shot. We then see that the robbers booby trapped the carriage with some sort of explosive that then detonates and blows up the carriage and knocks some guards/soldiers to the ground.
  • Chance grabs Lady Rebecca by the hair (bending her head backwards), throws her down to a table and seems ready to rape her (by saying that "a little breaking in is required"), but beyond threatening her in a menacing fashion, he doesn't do anything else.
  • Another gun battle breaks out where Chance then shoots a man execution style in the head.
  • Macleane slowly makes his way through Gibson's home, his musket drawn, looking for Rebecca.
  • The scene where a man is taken away to be hanged, and that actual event, may be suspenseful and disturbing for some viewers (although everything turns out okay in the end).
  • Chance and his men pursue the robbers through dimly lit tunnels.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Muskets/Rifles/Swords/Knife/Explosive: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see both Plunkett and Macleane practice their shooting, with the latter accidentally shooting some sort of fowl (we only see the feathers flying). Later, we also see Lady Rebecca doing some target practice.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Horny" (sexual), "Bastard(s)," "Piss off," "Wankers," "Buggers," "Bag of scum," "Fat boy," "Bitch," "Shut up," and "What the hell is going on?"
  • Although it's a period piece, the fact that the robbers are celebrated as something nearing folk heroes and get away with everything in the end may give impressionable kids the wrong idea about crime.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song plays that repeatedly includes the line, "You're going to Hell."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 19 "f" words (2 used sexually), 4 "s" words, 2 slang terms for male genitals ("pr*ck" and "p*cker"), British slang terms "Wanker" and "Buggers," 1 damn, 1 hell, and 2 uses of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "God" and "For Christ's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Macleane mentions that "the jailer's daughter requires my attention." We then see him get on a bed with her (in front of the other "privileged" prisoners). He's then behind her (with both kneeling) and caressing her body. The other prisoners then comment/bet on the outcome of this liaison, with one stating he'll (what sounded like) "whip his cream before the strumpet." Another bets that they'll "arrive together." Meanwhile we see this woman having sex on top of Macleane with lots of movement and some sounds but no nudity as they eventually climax.
  • Macleane asks Rochester, "Still swinging both ways?" (bisexual), to which the man replies, "I swing every way."
  • Lady Rebecca shows some cleavage as do other women at several social gatherings.
  • A comment is made about a woman who's "as rich as she is horny." At another social gathering, Macleane then sets out to meet this woman and we then later see them having sex (him behind her with lots of movement and sexual sounds, but no nudity). At one point during this she tells him, "Shut up. F*ck me."
  • Later, and because of that, we see Macleane walking around holding his crotch stating that he's got the "pox" (venereal disease). Macleane then holds out his pants for Plunkett to take a look, but we don't see anything. Macleane then wonders aloud how he can "make love" to Rebecca if he has the pox.
  • After Macleane gives him a remedy for it, he asks, "How's your p*cker?" and Macleane replies that he thinks it's actually gotten bigger. When Macleane later tells the groom-to-be that the bride is afflicted with the pox, someone else asks of the bride, "Did you f*ck him?"
  • During a montage, we see a woman willingly raise up her leg, revealing a great deal of thigh as she removes some jewelry she's wearing like a garter.
  • We see a man kissing a woman while caressing her clothed body at a brothel. The ladies here show cleavage and it's possible that a bare-breasted woman is briefly seen. We then see Macleane undressing while a hooker waits for him, lying on a bed. He then hops on top of her, and the scene then cuts away (although it's later implied that he couldn't perform due to his thoughts about Lady Rebecca). We also see that Chance is being serviced at the brothel as well (although we don't see any related activity).
  • SMOKING
  • Lady Rebecca smokes something once, while a miscellaneous man on the street smokes a pipe.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Plunkett briefly mentions his wife dying sometime in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The behavior of the two bandits and the way there were glorified by others and get away with everything in the end.
  • The venereal disease that Macleane catches from having casual sex with a stranger (and that remedies aren't as fast or sometimes available as indicated in the film.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Plunkett and his first partner cause a coach to crash into the wall of a prison. They then knock out (or kill) several people from the carriage. Guards/soldiers then approach and open fire on the robbers who return fire (knocking three of those guards from their horses). We do see, however, that Plunkett's partner has been hit. Chance then appears and steps down on this man's wounds and then hits him there as well (trying to get him to talk), torturing him (including sticking his hand into the wound -- not seen) and causing this man to scream in pain.
  • Plunkett holds his gun on Macleane and makes him take a knife and cut open his former partner's dead body to retrieve a ruby (more heard than seen).
  • Guards shoot at Plunkett and Macleane in a cemetery, with Plunkett shooting back.
  • We see some dead bodies in prison, including one who's apparently been hung.
  • Plunkett pushes Macleane back up against a wall and then gives him a slight head butt.
  • We briefly see a two-man fight (punches and a kick) occurring in a prison yard while others watch in a circle.
  • Some aristocratic men push Macleane to the ground.
  • We see that a person has been hung from the gallows (seen from the back down and from an aerial view).
  • Plunkett hits a man who's measuring him for clothes and then pushes another man aside.
  • Plunkett hits Gibson while robbing him.
  • We see both Plunkett and Macleane practice their shooting, with the latter accidentally shooting some sort of fowl (we only see the feathers flying).
  • Plunkett, who's hiding inside a statue, aims his gun out of its mouth at someone who stares inside.
  • Macleane fires off a warning shot before he and Plunkett rob their next victims.
  • During a montage of robberies, we see two drivers knocked from their coach by an object that swings down and hits both of them, and others on a carriage fire back at the two robbers in another brief clip.
  • Chance makes one of his men kneel down in front of him and then forcibly stuffs the man's pay (a coin) into his mouth, making him swallow it. He then punches him several times and then repeatedly kicks him on the floor.
  • Chance hits a prostitute on the head, causing Plunkett to come out and struggle with him, until Chance hits him several times. Plunkett then pulls out a knife and holds it on Chance, but they're stopped there.
  • The next morning, Plunkett and Chance have a duel, where Plunkett gets off the first shot, knocking Chance to the ground (but he's saved by the bible in his clothing). Chance then demands that he get his turn and he fires, striking Plunkett in the arm.
  • Plunkett shoots a guard who fires his shot that strikes another man, killing him. Guards/soldiers then open fire on Plunkett and Macleane, riddling the carriage by them with bullets, and hitting Macleane with one shot. We then see that the robbers booby trapped the carriage with some sort of explosive that then detonates and blows up the carriage and knocks some guards/soldiers to the ground.
  • Chance grabs Lady Rebecca by the hair (bending her head backwards), throws her down to a table and seems ready to rape her (by saying that "a little breaking in is required"), but beyond threatening her in a menacing fashion, he doesn't do anything else.
  • Another gun battle breaks out where Chance then shoots a man execution style in the head.
  • Plunkett punches Macleane for spending their money.
  • We see a dead dog in Gibson's former home (presumably killed by Chance or his men).
  • We a body hanging from a noose at a gallows, and then see another one violently yanked up into the air where the man kicks and struggles, but eventually dies. Another person is then strung up and nearly hung.
  • A man shoots several people dead, while others return fire at him. In the resulting pandemonium, Rochester runs his sword through a soldier, while Lady Rebecca shoots and kills another.
  • A man steps down on another man and then tries to gouge out his eye (as a means of torture), but that second man then shoots the first at point blank range. Others then shoot some soldiers who have approached.



  • Reviewed September 30, 1999 / Posted October 1, 1999

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