Australian Council on Children and the Media

Duplicity

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 due to adult themes, sexual references and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Duplicity
  • a review of Duplicity completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 March 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and sexual references.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Duplicity
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild sexual references and coarse language
Length 125 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) and Ray Koval (Clive Owen) were government spies, she worked for the CIA and he for MI6, when they first met in Dubai. Within moments of this meeting they wound up in bed. She then drugged him and made off with the top secret documents in his possession.
Having met on a number of occasions for secret trysts since then, they now work for rival companies whose bosses are bent on undermining each other and would gladly do anything to destroy the other’s company. Ray’s boss Richard “Dick” Garisk (Paul Giamatti) has even hired a team of corporate espionage experts who are trying to steal the latest ideas in Howard Tully’s (Tom Wilkinson) product pipeline. Claire is an integral member of Tully’s counter-intelligence team who are commissioned to keep the secret product safe, a product so secret that no one on the team even knows what it is they are protecting.
To complicate matters Claire and Ray have secretly teamed up and are not only working for their respective companies but are also working for themselves, trying to steal the corporate secret for their own financial gain. Everything appears to be going exactly to plan, except for one thing. Aside from the secret, there is something else that they don’t know, and that is whether or not they can even trust each other.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Corporate sabotage, greed

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Tully and Garisk verbally attack one another before physically hitting, punching, grabbing and throwing each other around a deserted airstrip while their colleagues look on in astonishment.
  • One of Claire’s co-workers is suspected of spying and is caught by security and handcuffed to a portable screen in one of the offices. He smashes things around while trying to free himself, until the screen and equipment crash around him.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Some children may be confused or made anxious by the scenes in which Claire is attempting to copy an extremely sensitive document without getting caught. The suspense and intensity of the music may concern some young children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Ray tells Claire that she spends so much time with her legs in the air, that it’s no wonder she can’t remember him.
  • On more than one occasion Ray accuses Claire of ‘drugging him, seducing him and screwing him.’
  • Claire holds a G string aloft and asks Ray who he has been sleeping with. When he swears he has been faithful she says that perhaps she had better put it back on. When she realizes that Ray is really upset she cosies up to him, asks him if he is turned on and indicates that she only has 55 minutes to make it up to him.
  • A travel agent is brought to Claire for questioning and it comes out that she and Ray had sex. She tells Claire that “it doesn’t matter what you do to me because it was worth it. It was so incredibly worth it.”
  • Some of the guys call Ray “The biggest swinging dick I’ve ever seen.”
  • There are photos of Ray and a travel agent in her office after hours. From the waist up she is only wearing a bra.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Claire drugs Ray in order to find the secret documents that she is after.
  • Claire talks of people “doing ecstasy”.
  • There is repeated use of alcohol throughout the film.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • There is frequent use of the terms “For Christ sakes” “fricken” “crap,” “shit” “bullshit” “God damn” “horn dog” “Oh Jesus” “pissed off” “bloody” “bitch” “ass” and “asshole”

In a nutshell

Duplicity is a film best suited to adults or older teens. It features witty dialogue and incorporates a number of unexpected plot twists.
The main message from this movie is that all is fair in love and war.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • loyalty
  • problem-solving skills
  • optimism

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • deceitfulness,
  • attempting to sabotage or humiliate others,
  • trying to take things from others instead of working for what you want.
  • the risks and extremes that people will go to when money is involved.

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