Two young men whose convictions drive them to enlist in the Army are sent to the Afghan mountains as part of the first wave of a new initiative that a young senator (Tom Cruise) believes will turn the tide on the war against the Taliban. Their decision has a strong emotional impact on the professor (Robert Redford) who inspired their decision to join the military, as well as the senior reporter (Meryl Streep) who was enlisted to sell the plan to the public. Also with Michael Pena and Derek Luke. Directed by Robert Redford. [1:32]
SEX/NUDITY 1 - A young man makes a remark about a politician having a sexual encounter with a congressional page.
► Young women wear low-cut tops that reveal cleavage.
VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Two soldiers are shot repeatedly and they slump to the ground dead.
► Troops are deployed by helicopter and fly over a snow-covered peak, they are shot at, several soldiers on-board are shot (one in the leg and we see a bloody wound, another in the face and we also see a bloody wound), and one soldier falls out of the helicopter and another jumps out after him; we see them both on the ground with injuries but they are alive, and the helicopter flies away.
► Two soldiers stranded on a snow-covered peak hear approaching enemy troops, they exchange gunfire, an air attack is launched and bombs are dropped causing large explosions around them.
► Two soldiers lying on a snow-covered peak are shown with severe wounds (one has a broken arm and fingers, one has a large bullet wound in his face, one has a broken leg and the bone and bloody tissue are exposed, and one has one leg stuck deep in the snow).
► A soldier stuck in the snow frantically digs himself out, he pulls his leg up and we hear a crack (his leg appears to be broken).
► A military commander talks about "putting our foot on their throats" during a talk about troop movement. We hear reports of soldiers being killed in bombings in Iraq.
PROFANITY 6 - 11 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 1 sexual reference, 15 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, name-calling (idiot), 7 religious profanities, 3 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A man spits chewing tobacco juice into a jar.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Iraq War, war, politics, Vietnam, approval ratings, popularity, image, the war on terror, victory, defeat, Afghanistan, the Taliban, terrorism, guerilla warfare, diplomacy, heresy, adapting to tactics, hope, hubris, patience, "axis of evil," political science, delusions, mistakes inspired by fear, courage, fear mongering, morality, friendship, honor, honesty, responsibility, moral obligation, making change, draft, bending the public will, making a change, potential, propaganda, ambition, conscience, life choices, taking privilege for granted, the human cost of war.
MESSAGE - Ignoring the mistakes of the past lead only to a repeat of the same mistakes. The human cost of war must always be considered. If we know something is wrong it is our moral obligation to stand up and say so.