Chatwin is a very good, engaging actor, but too much is given away from his point of view.  Nick is everywhere, without effort, so there is little in the way of revelation as we progress throughout the film.  When something is uncovered, it’s trite—yet treated as if hugely important.  Equally good is Harden, who won the “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar for Pollock, but her time onscreen is limited.  The film’s casting of the villain was a huge mistake, however.  Levieva is a former Russian Olympic gymnast who can’t weigh more than 100 pounds, yet we’re asked to believe that she can brutalize both Nick and Pete, order around two male henchmen and terrify her late 20-something ex-con boyfriend (Alex O’Loughlin).  Also, after she’s mortally injured, her wounds barely even cause her to wince. 

With its trendy pop tunes, this is a movie for and about teenagers, despite the startling level of violence, bizarre spiritual message (there is “life after death,” but only between life and death) and lack of role models or even hope, for that matter.  Teenage girls kick butt.  You can hear and see what people are saying about you, behind your back.  You die, but you don’t die.  You’re injured, but it doesn’t matter.  And you can fall in love with your killer … just because she has pretty hair.  

Talk about a romanticized teenage fantasy—albeit one that I won’t ever let my kids watch.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Music Videos:  30 Seconds to Mars (“The Kill”) and Sparta (“Taking Back Control”)
  • Feature Audio Commentary with director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum
  • Feature Audio Commentary with writer Mick Davis

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Teenage characters appear to be trafficking in drugs but may only be selling stolen goods instead.  Wine in one scene.  In two separate scenes, characters try and kill themselves with prescription drugs and alcohol.
  • Language/Profanity:  Mild to moderate.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Some sensuality between teenage characters.  A teenager appears to be spending the night and having sex with an older man, although this is never seen.
  • Violence:  Strong.  Characters threaten the lives of others and are brutally beaten throughout film.  One is hit with a car on the road.  Another is run over by a car and slams into the windshield.  A car is stolen.  A jewelry store is robbed.  Some shooting and many scenes where guns are used to threaten lives.  A teenage character commits suicide with a shotgun (offscreen) but in both cases, the scene is not “real.”  Various car chases with police.  Characters shoot one another; one dies, the other suffers a bloody, mortal wound.