September Dawn [2006] [R] - 5.8.2

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
Profanity
1 to 10

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Against the backdrop of the 1857 massacre of a wagon train of Utah-bound settlers by a Mormon group, unfolds the love story between the son of a Mormon bishop and the daughter of a settler. Inspired by actual events. With Trent Ford, John Voight, Terence Stamp, Taylor Handley, Lolita Davidovich and Tamara Hope. Directed by Christopher Cain. [1:51]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - During a ceremony a young man and a young woman undress and step into tubs of water (his bare back and buttocks and her bare breast and abdomen are visible).
 A man's testicles are cut off by another man and nailed to the side of his house; we see the testicles hanging there and a voiceover remarks about infidelity.
 A young man is awakened from sleep and he is bare-chested. A young woman wearing period undergarments bathes in a river (we see her bare shoulders and cleavage), a young man on horseback watches her, rides toward her, lifts her onto his horse and they hug and kiss.
 A young man and a young woman kiss and they promise to marry each other. A man kisses a young woman on the forehead.
 A young man says, "I'm going to bed with my wives." A young man says, "there's nothing like cuddling up to a soft body at night." A man talks about one of his sons having two wives and that he should have another one. A man talks about miners "drinking and whoring."
 A young man and a young woman flirt. A young man and a young woman admire each other.

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - During an attack, a man shoots another man with a pistol (blood flies from the wound in his chest), a man shoots a woman in the back, a man throws a knife into the back of a woman, a man shoots a woman with a baby in the back, a young man in war paint shoots a woman in the back, a man stabs a young boy in the stomach, a man grins after shooting a girl in the back, a young man beats a man to death with his rifle, a man slits a boy's throat and a woman's throat, a man hits a woman in the head with a rifle, a young man is shown violently beating an already dead man, and a dead boy is shown with an arrow in his chest.
 A young girl is shot in the abdomen (blood spurts from the wound and we see her dress stained with blood and she collapses to the ground) and this begins an attack where many people, men, women and children, are killed with hatchets, arrows, knives and guns.
 After an attack we see many bodies lying scattered on the ground, and we see wounded men, women, and children: a boy has a bloody bandage on his leg, a man has a bloody bandage on his knee, a girl has blood on her face, and the body of a man is shown with a knife sticking out of his chest.
 A man is pulled out of his home by other men, he is held on the ground and one man leans over him (we hear screaming) and the one man holds up the victim's testicles and nails them to the side of his house (we see the testicles hanging there).
 Many women and children are surrounded by many armed men who open fire on them shooting all of them; we see blood spurting, a boy is slashed across the stomach with a knife, a woman and a child are shot, we hear screaming, slashing and crunching and see bodies fall to the ground. A woman is shot through the back (blood seeps through her dress, she gasps and collapses).
 A man is forced to dig a grave, his throat is then slit by another man (we see blood spurt) and he is pushed into the grave.
 We see a man being executed by several gunmen and hear that he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Many men are lined up and shot (we see blood spurt and bodies dropping to the ground). We hear that a woman was murdered and we see her with blood on her throat.
 A man holds a gun on a woman, and another man shoots him in the back (we see a bloody hole in his chest and see him take his last breath). A man is shot off his horse and falls to the ground. A man is shot in the stomach (we see blood on his shirt) and dies.
 A man aims his rifle into a wagon where many children hide, and we hear screaming and gunshots (we do not see them being shot). Men force open a door and shoot a man, and the man is shown with a blood stain from a gunshot wound on his chest. We see the body of a dead woman floating in a river.
 A young man attacks his father and begins to strangle him before another young man pulls him away. A young man breaks a window, pulls on another young man's head outside the window, yells at him and threatens to cut his throat with the broken glass.
 A mob of people with torches and guns approaches a house. Several men smash windows and furniture, and they set fire to a building. A group of men destroys a town and they burn buildings.
 A young man, who's covered in blood after having participated in killing many people, begs another young man to shoot him. A young man holds a gun to his own head (he does not pull the trigger). A man on horseback chases another man on horseback (they meet each other and nothing happens).
 A man orders a group of people to kill another group of people and make it look like yet another group was responsible. A man orders other men to cut the throat of outsiders who enter their settlement. A man orders a young man to be arrested and we see the young man in shackles and chains.
 A man prays for a group of people to be cursed and for the children to go to hell. Members of one religion are shown praying that God will curse members of another religion several times. Men and women swear an oath that they will be killed and fed to animals if they break their vow. A man is proclaimed as the "voice of God." A man talks about "cleansing the church of evil" by way of violence.
 A man makes reference to "blood atonement." A man talks about the killing of a group of people as being merciful. A man talks about "loosing the Indians" on a group of people. Text on the screen relates that 120 people died during a massacre. A man says that troops have been deployed to kill all Native Americans and Mormons. A man threatens to "hew down" all opposition. A man talks about putting a javelin through another man's heart. We hear that a man's wife died and he is left to care for an infant.
 Men loot the bodies of men, women and children lying dead on a field. Children are taken from their mothers and loaded onto a wagon. A teenage boy playfully smacks another teenage boy on the arm.
 We hear a man vomit.

PROFANITY 2 - 1 sexual reference, 2 mild obscenities, name-calling (scoundrels, crazy tyrant, fools, savages), 5 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man talks about miners liking to drink to excess.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Mormonism, Christianity, Native Americans, pioneers, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, religious bigotry, massacres, judging people, sin, punishing sinners, faithfulness, trust, blind faith, religious conversion, deception, salvation, love at first sight, patriarchal societies, gambling, suspicion, doing what you are told without question, polygamy, starvation, militias, destiny, death of a spouse, death of a parent, religious freedom, revelation, marriage, absolute authority, prejudice, segregation, jealousy, revenge, paranoia, forgiveness.

MESSAGE - Absolute authority, especially when coupled with greed and paranoia, can lead to great tragedy and injustice.

Special Keywords: S5 - V8 - P2 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.




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