High Crimes Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
You gotta know something is about to go wrong when a movie opens with a happily married couple overflowing with giddiness about trying to have a baby (and we get to share in the first moments of their passionate attempt). Later that same evening, the prominent attorney Claire (Ashley Judd) and her contractor husband Tom (James Caviezel) are awakened by thieves breaking into their home.
The botched burglary sets off a surprising chain of events—beginning with heavily armed tactical police officers ambushing the couple as they stroll home from shopping. When Tom is arrested on multiple murder charges, Claire is immediately convinced her spouse is an innocent victim of mistaken identity, until she discovers he literally isn’t who he said he was.
Tom Kubik is really Ronald Chapman—a man trained to kill during his Marine Corp days. While admitting to changing his name, he holds firmly to the story that he was avoiding prosecution after becoming the target of a massive setup involving some top brass. Wanting to believe the man she loves, yet unfamiliar with the strict military legal system, Claire hires crusty ex-military lawyer Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) to help her dig for the truth—which in this case, proves to be a very elusive target.
This “how much worse can it get” thriller is full of flat bad guys in khaki, including a tough prosecutor and stiff judge, who are both anxious to pummel the underdog defense. Meanwhile, our pretty and increasingly paranoid protagonist is never short of shady characters following her home late at night, resulting in too many “made you jump” moments.
While I can’t accuse High Crimes’ predictable plot for being shot full of holes, I wish I could say the same about the on-screen action. A likely candidate for the honor of “Most On-Screen Shootings in a PG-13 Movie,” parents should be aware of the graphic (although not gory) and intense violence in this film. Finally, three-dozen profanities and heady sexual situations (including an implied “threesome” with another male watching) will likely leave this movie in the brig for most families.Starring Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release April 5, 2002. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is High Crimes rated PG-13? High Crimes is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, sexual content and language
A successful lawyer (Ashley Judd) is shocked when her husband is arrested under a different name, and accused of a military crime. Her resolve to prove him innocent soon has her digging up secrets of the past that put her own reputation and safety at risk. This "the wife is always the last to know" thriller contains depictions of violence, as well as sexual and language concerns.
Two key sequences are shown several times throughout the film: The first depicts the massacre of innocent citizens (some are shot on-screen, and their bodies with bloody wounds are shown), and the second portrays the bombing of a restaurant that shows a man being thrown and results in the deaths of at least three people. Intruders in a house break a window. A bomb explodes. Swat team roughly handle people during an arrest. Woman is hit in head, and held at gunpoint. Two depictions of women who are bound, one is gagged with duct tape. Characters engage in very aggressive fighting on at least three occasions (injuries and one death result). Some characters get into verbal confrontations and threats are made. Characters are involved in a car accident when oil is thrown at the vehicle. Male character tackles, ties up, and threatens a female character. Depiction of a character being shot; blood drips from mouth. Woman holds gun on a man. Clip shown from an old horror movie.
Sexual Content: C-
Fertility detecting device is briefly shown. Married couple converse about their desire to have a baby and begin kissing passionately, then lie down together on a couch. A court case involving a rape is briefly mentioned. One character always wears revealing clothing, and on one occasion is briefly shown wearing only an open jacket. An adulterous relationship is mentioned. Two prostitutes in very revealing clothing seduce a man, while another character in the same room sits and drinks. Close ups of women’s cleavage. It is implied that an unmarried couple are engaging in a sexual relationship. Women dancers in a strip bar are shown.
At least: 1 extreme sexual hand gesture, 2 crude terms for sexual relations, 16 moderate and 22 mild profanities, and 5 terms of deity used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C
Patron in a pool hall, and men in a strip bar are shown drinking. Several other characters are shown drinking in the film, some to excess. Character portrayed as a recovering alcoholic begins drinking again, and is shown inebriated in a couple of scenes. One female character smokes throughout, and one male character shown smoking once.
Women shown in separate scenes grieving for dead loved ones and for a miscarried pregnancy.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
High Crimes Parents' Guide
High Crimes has many elements of on-screen surprise. Movies like this attempt to leave the audience not knowing who to trust, yet if the screenwriter and director use this technique too frequently, what may happen instead?
The character of Ronald Chapman was trained to lie and kill during his military service. Do you think this really happens in the military? If so, are these people safe within society after they are released from active duty? Do you think you could be trained to do such things?
The most recent home video release of High Crimes movie is September 1, 2009. Here are some details…
Release Date: 1 September 2009
High Crimes breaks into the home video market on Blu-ray Disc. The movie is presented in widescreen with audio tracks in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (English) and Dolby Surround (Spanish and French). Subtitles are offered in English, French and Spanish. Bonus materials include:
- Audio Commentary by Carl Franklin
- Featurettes: A Military Mystery, FBI Takedown in Union Square, A Different Kind of Justice, The Car Crash, Together Again and Liar Liar: How to Beat a Polygraph with Sue Ducett.
- Theatrical Trailer
Related home video titles:
If you are looking for military intrigue try The Hunt For Red October. For a classic whodunit—with a lot less violence, try The Sign Of Four. Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story presents a family-friendly case of mistaken identity.