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The Good Shepherd | 2006 | R | - 7.7.5

After being invited to join a secret society called the Skull & Bones on the Yale University campus, a young man (Matt Damon) becomes connected with people who eventually control many government functions, and he is recruited by the CIA as a covert operative in foreign espionage. Completely committed to his job and his idea of what the welfare of the United States of America requires him to do, he does whatever he sees as appropriate, using any means he deems necessary. Also with Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, John Turturro and Patrick Wilson. Directed by De Niro. [3:17]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man and a woman have sex (we see his bare back), and we see him thrusting; later, we see him lying in bed bare-chested while the woman is in a robe, and she climbs in bed with him and kisses his chest.
 A man and a woman kiss, the woman pushes the man back onto the ground, she straddles him, she lifts her skirt (nothing is visible), and we see thrusting and see them kissing (she tells him to tell her that he loves her, even though they have just met).
 A man and a woman lie in bed together and it is implied that they have had sex (we see her bare breast and shoulders and his shoulders). We hear rhythmic breathing and see silhouettes of bodies thrusting in several scenes (a man's bare back is barely visible).
 Nude men wrestle in mud (we see mud covered backs, buttocks, chests and legs). A man is stripped of his clothing during a torture scene and we see his bare chest and abdomen to the hip and bare buttocks when he leaps through a window. Women wear low-cut dresses that reveal cleavage in several scenes.
 A man and a woman in a hotel room kiss, they sit on a bed, she is shown in a full slip (a strap slips off of her shoulder), and the scene is interrupted. A man and a woman lie on a beach kissing.
 A professor caresses a student's shoulder with his cane and appears to be trying to seduce him.
 A woman looks at photos of her husband kissing another woman. A husband and wife confess to being unfaithful to each other.
 Men and women dance together in a bar.
 A man dressed as a woman sings on a stage, as many other men dance and sing around him.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A man is surrounded by other men, they take him behind a wall so that he is not visible, and they apparently beat him mercilessly (we hear blows and hear him screaming); we then see two men pushing the body of the man into a river.
 A woman is shot in the chest and the head (blood spurts onto the wall behind her and she slumps to the floor dead).
 A woman is thrown out of a flying plane, and we see her flailing in the air as she falls toward the ground.
 A man talks about the time when he was a boy, when his father committed suicide using a gun, and that he heard the shot, found his father's body in a large pool of blood and told his mother that he shot his father accidentally (we see the dead man in a pool of blood).
 A man is tortured for information: he is punched repeatedly in the face (we see bloody bruises and a very swollen eye), he is stripped of all of his clothing (we see his bare chest and abdomen to the hip), a sack is put over his face, his head is held back and buckets of water are poured over his head; we see him struggling and hear him gagging, and he is given LSD as a truth serum, whereupon he jumps through a window (we see his twisted body lying on the street in a pool of blood).
 A man pulls a severed finger out of a coffee can. We see many dead bodies on a beach after a failed military action. We see a newsreel footage of war in Poland.
 A woman yells at her husband in front of a large group of people when she finds out that he has been unfaithful. A man talks about men who will make up a secret team and that there will be "No Jews, Negroes or Catholics" participating. A man threatens to kill a man for treason. A husband and wife argue bitterly. A man talks about the British people and that "they don't eat their young." A man complains of pain in his legs and feet in one scene and then later of having pieces of his feet cut off by doctors.
 A man collapses into another man's arms when he is told about the death of his fiancée.
 Nude men wrestle in mud and a man standing on a balcony watching them urinates on them. Many planes fly over a large farm dropping what looks like grasshoppers into a coffee bean field. A man talks about having too much sugar in his blood and urine.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 7 F-words, 5 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man is given LSD as a truth serum. Many people drink alcohol in many scenes, some to the point of inebriation. Men and women smoke in many scenes, throughout the movie. A man who continues to smoke appears to be ill from cancer (it is implied that surgery has been performed but was not successful in entirely removing a tumor).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - CIA, FBI, covert operations, John F. Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, Fidel Castro, torture, Nazis, U.S. citizenship, foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, death of a loved one, death of a parent, patriotism, power, the intelligence game, the space race, the Cold War, Adolf Hitler, lies, betrayal, secret societies, propaganda, fear, execution for treason, infidelity, OSS, unplanned pregnancy, liberation, freedom, forced marriage, The Blitz, traitors, information, disinformation, suspicion, homosexuality, cowardice.

MESSAGE - Secret organizations based on fabrication and lies breed lonely and friendless people whose judgment is impaired. The exercise of unsupervised power corrupts.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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