Australian Council on Children and the Media

Wild Target

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Not suitable under 13, not recommended 13-15 due to violence, sexual references, substance use and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Wild Target
  • a review of Wild Target completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 November 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to violence, sexual references, substance use and coarse language
Children 13-14 Not recommended due to violence and substance use.
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

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: Wild Target
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Violence and infrequent coarse language
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is a fifty-four year old English hit man, brought up in a family where assassination was the family business. Victor is ranked number one in the assassination industry and goes about his work with an un-nerving deadpan efficiency. Rose (Emily Blunt) is a thief and con artist, who has manage to con a gangster by the name of Ferguson (Rupert Everett) out of ?900,000 for a fake Rembrandt self portrait. Ferguson hires Victor to kill Rose but, despite several attempts, Victor fails to complete his task. As time goes by Victor finds himself more and more infatuated with Rose and instead of killing her, he saves Rose’s life by killing a second hit man.

To complicate matters further, a young man named Tony (Rupert Grint) becomes entangled in the affair when he saves both Victor and Rose from a third assassin. The trio then go on the run together from Ferguson and his associates.

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.

Hired assassins; forgery

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.

Wild Target contains varying degrees of violence throughout, often depicted in a comical manner. Most of the murders occur off screen, but the film does contain some blood and gore. Examples include:  

  • Victor mistakenly shoots an innocent person through a curtain in a change room.
  • A man aims his gun at Rose, intent on killing her. Victor shoots the man in the back. The actual shooting occurs off screen but we see the dead corpse lying on the ground and Victor and Tony dragging the dead man into a storage room in an attempt to hide the body.
  • Tony accidentally shoots a man in the arm.
  • Victor hits an injured man across the head with his gun, knocking him unconscious.   
  • Victor stands behind Rose holding a cut-throat razor with the intent of killing her, but Tony walks in and Victor puts the razor away. .
  • Ferguson confronts one of his henchmen asking, “Why are you shaking, do you think I am going to hit you”? Ferguson then slaps the man hard across the face and the man is knocked backwards.
  • While lying in a bath, Tony is attacked by one of Ferguson’s henchman, who holds Tony’s head under the water. After a short struggle Tony manages to take away the man’s gun, which accidentally goes off, shooting the man in the side of the head and severing his ear.  A short time later we see the man holding his blood-covered ear in his hand and blood covering the side of his head.   
  • During a reckless car chase a man is knocked off his bike and a woman pushing a baby in a pram is nearly run over. One of the cars crashes, the driver lying unconscious in his seat and the passenger lying unconscious on the car’s bonnet after having been thrown through the windscreen; we see some blood on the man’s face. Later we see the two men in hospital bed wearing plaster casts and neck braces and hear that one of the injured men will never wake up. 
  • Victor talks about his upbringing and how he had been trained in the seventeen methods of killing.
  • Victor’s mother, who is in a wheelchair, tries to stab a sleeping Rose with a large kitchen knife, then throws the knife at her, but misses. She tries to shoot Rose with a shotgun and misses, the shot blowing a large hole in the bedroom door. 
  • While attempting to surprise Rose, Victor and Tony place a blindfold on Rose telling her not to be afraid that it will be over quickly. Rose becomes upset and panicky, mistakenly believing that Victor and Tony are about to execute her.
  • In an attempt to threaten and intimidate Rose, a hit man tells Rose that he will cut off his partner’s finger, make Rose swallow it and then leave Rose alone with the man. The hit-man holds up a large pair of bolt cutters and the scene ends.
  • A man threatening Victor is killed when a gun he is holding explodes in his face. We do not see the gun actually explode, but we see Victor’s face hit by a small splattering of blood and the gunman lying on the ground with a piece of the gun barrel sticking out of his forehead. There is some blood and gore.     

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • After killing a man, Victor attempts to shoot the victim’s pet parrot who witnessed the murder. However, Victor finds he is unable to shoot the bird and takes it home, giving the bird to his mother. Later we see the parrot lying dead on a table with a knitting needle sticking out of its chest.

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the above-mentioned violent and scary scenes.

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 may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

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.

Younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple laptop computers
  • Brand names of sleeping pills

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Victor’s mother tells him that men who live too long with their mothers tend to be homosexual. 
  • Rose makes eyes at a barman and tells Victor that the barman fancies her. Rose then asks Victor if he fancies her or if he fancies the barman. Victor tells Rose that he doesn’t care if she does it with the barman, bellboy or anyone else.
  • Rose makes reference to Victor having an obsession with plastic covers (all the furniture in his house is covered in plastic covers) she then tells him “I bet condoms don’t bother you”.
  • Victor walks in on Tony who is naked and sitting in a bath. Victor tells Tony that he was wondering if Tony was confusing him sexually and Tony stands up in the bath, exposing himself and asking Victor what he thinks when he sees his naked body. Victor rushes out of the room without answering.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • In a bid to coerce a man, Rose nibbles his ear in an intimate manner, causing him to moan with pleasure.
  • Rose removes her top and pants and gets into bed in her underwear. A man enters the room and goes to get into Rose’s bed. Victor watches Rose and her guest from another window and we hear moaning, screaming and laughing which continues through most of the night.
  • After witnessing a hit-man being shot, Rose tells Victor that she has to “pee” and asks Victor if he has a tissue. Victor hands her a silk handkerchief. Rose goes behind a car and squats down then, after she is finished, hands Victor back his handkerchief.       
  • In one scene we see Tony lying on a bed and when Rose enters the room, somewhat intoxicated, she crawls across the top of Tony and lies on the bed herself, telling Tony not to try anything.
  • On several occasions we see Tony naked in a bath but from the waist up only.
  • Rose and Tony lie in bed together with Rose cuddling up to Tony.    
  • Rose and Victor lie on a bed fully clothed and kissing passionately. The scene ends with the inference that they will have sex.

Use of substances

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

  • Several scenes involve people pouring and drinking wine at home and in restaurants.
  • In several scenes we see Tony apparently smoking cannabis. In one scene a man takes the cannabis from Tony and smokes it himself, acting as if drugged.
  • Rose orders a variety of alcoholic drinks and later appears drunk, suffering from a hangover the next day.
  • Rose asks Victor if he has any sleeping pills, naming several brands.
  • While celebrating Victor’s birthday Rose, Tony and Victor open bottles of champagne and appear drunk. Later the trio drink spirits and throw their empty glasses to smash in the fireplace.

Coarse language

Wild Target contains medium level coarse language throughout and some putdowns. Examples include:

  • One use of “f**k”, but unclear and easily missed.
  • who the hell, shit, pissed off, sodding, blow your balls off, you sick bastard, floozy.

In a nutshell

Wild Target is a black comedy targeting at an adult audience, but with appeal for older adolescents. The film is quirky and contains has some funny and genuinely cleaver humour but parents should be aware that the film’s violence and substance use in particular mean that it is not suitable for younger teenagers.

The film’s main message is that falling in love can cause you to suffer a crisis of conscience and change your life.       

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Self sacrifice: Rose is willing to allow Victor to shoot her if it means saving Tony’s life.
  • Moral reasoning: Tony bases many of his judgments on what he believes is the right thing to do. 

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

  • the amount of killing shown in the film, with apparent lack of remorse on the part of the killers.

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