[Screen It]


(2002) (Christian Bale, Taye Diggs) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Moderate Extreme Moderate Extreme
Mild None Extreme None Mild
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Minor None Mild Moderate Extreme

Sci-fi: In a world where emotions and art result in the possessor of either being killed, an enforcer of such laws goes on the run and tries to overthrow the ruler after becoming entranced by both illegal elements.
It's sometime in the 21st century and survivors of the third world war have realized that the volatile nature of humans can no longer be risked. Accordingly, the ruler of the land, Father (SEAN PERTWEE), has decreed through his powerful right-hand man, Dupont (ANGUS MACFADYEN), that all human emotions be suppressed.

Accordingly, everyone is ordered to take their daily dose of emotion-eliminating Prozium, while all artwork has been deemed dangerous and thus earmarked to be destroyed upon discovery. To make sure this occurs, a highly trained and lethal group of law enforcers known as the Gramaton Clerics has been called into action and none are as proficient as John Preston (CHRISTIAN BALE). Not only did he not intervene when his wife (MARIA PIA CALZONE) was executed for breaking the law, but he's also just killed his partner, Partridge (SEAN BEAN), for hording a forbidden literary work.

Now raising his two kids, Robbie (MATTHEW HARBOUR) and Lisa (EMILY SIEWERT), by himself, Preston finds himself partnered with the overzealous Brandt (TAYE DIGGS) who's determined to help Father and Dupont find and wipe out a rebel underground movement led by Jurgen (WILLIAM FICHTNER).

Yet, when Preston inadvertently doesn't take his Prozium for a day, he's soon overwhelmed by emotions as well as the words of captured dissident Mary O'Brien (EMILY WATSON) who causes him to question his place and purpose in a world where emotion is outlawed. From that point on, Preston suddenly finds himself labeled by his own as the enemy and does what he can to find Jurgen and his followers while avoiding Brandt and others who want to capture and kill him.

If they're fans of anyone in the cast or futuristic sci-fi tales, they might.
For violence.
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays a futuristic super-cop of sorts whose job is to arrest those who show emotion or possess art. A widower, he eventually begins to feel emotion when he stops taking his emotion-deadening pills and goes over to the other side where he tries to help an underground movement overthrow Father.
  • EMILY WATSON plays a woman who ultimately bewitches Preston after he arrests her for possessing forbidden artwork.
  • SEAN BEAN plays Preston's original partner who falls victim to falling under the spell of emotion and art.
  • SEAN PERTWEE plays the leader of the land who makes the laws, but is never seen other than on video screens.
  • WILLIAM FICHTNER plays the leader of an underground movement to depose Father.
  • ANGUS MACFADYEN plays Father's right-hand man who wants to find and destroy the underground movement as well as anyone who displays emotions or possess artwork.
  • TAYE DIGGS plays Preston's new by-the-books partner who kills various people and then wants to kill Preston for deserting the cause for the other side.


    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).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated sci-fi film. Violence consists of various people being shot to death or killed in other highly-stylized fashions, but only a few instances have bloody or gory results. Other martial arts style fighting and other hitting is also present which some kids might want to imitate.

    It's possible that some of those scenes and others (including dogs being shot off screen) could be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Meanwhile, profanity consists of a handful of expletives, including 1 "s" word.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light, an early scene features strobe-like flashes of light during a gun battle in a dark room.

  • Most everyone takes Prozium, an emotion-deadening drug.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood on a dead person's face, while we see other dead bodies (but no blood).
  • We see some blood on a person's glove.
  • We see a little bit of blood on a cop's faceplate.
  • Preston has some blood from his lip and he spits out some.
  • Preston slices through a man's head with a sword and we briefly see the front of the man's face slide off with some blood.
  • Preston has some blood on his neck (from a cut there) and hands. He then ends up smearing blood from his hand onto a screen.
  • Although they're upholding the law of the land, Dupont, his guards, the police, Brandt and even Preston kill others and destroy artwork.
  • In relation, Preston then has both for breaking the law and feeling emotions and trying to help others (although to the viewer he becomes the hero and the others are the bad guys).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be suspenseful or disturbing to some viewers.
  • For those sensitive to needles and other things being inserted into the body, we see various views of people shooting the emotion deadening chemical into their necks (nothing graphic).
  • Preston aims his gun at another cleric's head when he catches him reading poetry.
  • In a nightmare, we see a body being sent into an incinerator (but nothing graphic).
  • We hear but don't see dogs being shot by police and squealing in pain. One escapes and Preston grabs it. It licks him on the face and he's told to hand it over so that they can kill it. He does, but then changes his mind and takes the dog.
  • Police catch Preston in a forbidden area and hold their guns on him (not knowing who he is). Since we know that he has an equally forbidden dog in his trunk that the cops want to open, some viewers may find the scene as tense.
  • Preston races to stop a person from being executed (trying to run a great distance in a short amount of time).
  • Cops search Preston's place and we know that he has a hidden stash of the Prozium he was supposed to be taking.
  • We see a nuclear explosion and burning buildings during the narrator's introduction to the story.
  • Handguns/Automatic Weapons/Swords/Unseen explosives: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Flamethrower: Used to burn artwork.
  • Phrases: "Damn you."
  • The stylistically filmed/choreographed fight sequences and gun firing might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • None.
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "s" word (with another possible one), 2 damns and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "My God" as exclamations.
  • We see a classic-style painting that shows a bare-breasted woman.
  • None.
  • We hear that Preston's wife was arrested and incinerated for breaking the law (several years ago) and that he's now raising his two kids by himself. We also see a brief flashback of him watching her execution without showing any emotion.
  • The film's look at the belief that art and human emotion are the ills of mankind.
  • Dupont's comment that the message is not important, but instead it's their obedience to it.
  • We see a nuclear explosion and burning buildings during the narrator's introduction to the story.
  • A man is riddled with machine gun fire (no blood) as is a building. People inside fire back and more people are hit on both sides (no blood).
  • Preston races up and knocks down a door into a dark room where he and others open fire on each other. We hear lots of gunfire and see flashes of light that briefly illuminate people being hit (no blood). We see various dead people on the ground afterwards (with only a tiny bit of blood).
  • A classic painting is burned via a flamethrower.
  • We archival footage of the Rodney King beating as well as another nuclear blast.
  • Preston aims his gun at another cleric's head when he catches him reading poetry. Preston then shoots him through that book, killing him (no blood).
  • In a flashback, Preston hits and knocks some men aside when they storm in to arrest his wife. He appears to break one's hand and holds his gun on others.
  • A woman tries to attack Preston but he spins her around.
  • Police tear walls open looking for artwork.
  • A woman grabs a gun and Brandt prepares to shoot her, but Preston blocks his arm as he fires.
  • Police open fire on a building and riddle its walls with machine gun fire. During this, many people are shot (no blood) and a person is blasted back through some glass.
  • We hear but don't see dogs being shot by police and squealing in pain.
  • Preston shoots two police officers directly in the head through their face guards (no blood) and then fires on others who fire at him, killing all of them.
  • Preston and Brandt spar with wooden, martial arts style batons (and hit each other with them on the bodies in an aggressive fashion).
  • Various explosions rock a factory and more machine gun fire erupts. A guy with a gun grabs Preston who spins around and knocks the man aside.
  • Preston fights several cops, breaking one's arm and leg, and another's arm (in a brutal fashion) and knocking others around. He then continues fighting more of them (knocking them aside, hitting them with guns, etc.).
  • More people are shot and killed via machine gun fire (seen in silhouette).
  • Mary tries to stab Preston with something, but he grabs and pins her to the table.
  • Preston grabs a man and pins him to a table. He then throws the man through a bookcase and has his gun drawn.
  • Preston knocks many people aside and some down to the ground as he runs by them.
  • A person is executed via incineration (nothing graphic).
  • Brandt punches Preston (we see Preston's point of view of the punch) and then throws him to the ground. He then kicks him in the gut.
  • Preston shoots various guards dead with machine guns and other weapons as they try to shoot him.
  • Preston enters a room where various guards carry swords. He then proceeds to slice and stab all of them (no blood) and then fights one more man, eventually slicing through his head (we see the front of his face slide off with some blood).
  • Preston fights another man with martial arts moves and more (including both blocking gunfire from the other). He then shoots the man dead.
  • Preston blasts various computer (or similar) screens with gunfire.
  • We see various explosions going off around the city (from a distance).
  • Many more people are shot and killed.

  • Reviewed November 11, 2002 / Posted December 6, 2002

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Around the World in 80 Days] [Family Camp] [Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.