ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

High Crimes (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: April 5, 2002
CAP Score: 13
MinMax: -39
CAP Influence Density: 1.76

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

HIGH CRIMES (PG-13) -- I would officially declare the MPAA useless this date.

Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox
Director(s): Carl Franklin
Producer(s): Jesse Beaton, Naomi Despres, Lisa Henson, Arnon Milchan, Kevin Reidy, Janet Yang
Written by/Screenplay: Joseph Finder (novel), Yuri Zeltser (screenplay), Grace Cary Bickley (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Theo van de Sande
Music: Graeme Revell
Editing: Carole Kravetz

A PG-13 with God's name in vain with the four letter expletive more times than without it [Deut. 5:11], preparations for and strong suggestions of intercourse, two hookers for servicing one man [Prov. 6:20 - 35, Rev. 22:15], graphic gunfire murders and murder of an unborn baby [Rev. 21:8], more. Quite the entertainment for the modern middle schooler wouldn't you say? High Crimes is definitely a R-13! Most definitely. The R-rated movies of the CAP comparative baseline database earned scores from 54 and below of 100. High Crimes earned a score of 13. I simply cannot imagine what the MPAA were thinking! An investigation area score of zero in Impudence/Hate and Sex/Homosexuality and ALL investigation area scores less than 50! What were they thinking! Leaving out the most foul of the foul words a PG-13 does not make. If I had the authority to do so I would officially declare the MPAA useless this date.

Though saturated with literally hundreds of examples of unacceptable programming, of the five movies I viewed for analysis Friday, April 5, 2002, High Crimes was likely the best of the bad. It required the viewer to think and pay attention. That Morgan Freeman was opposite to Ashley Judd most assuredly helped the movie. Some of my favorite stars are Harrison Ford, Linda Hunt, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, Tommy Lee Jones, Nichelle Nichols, Will Smith, Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. High Crimes had two of them together in the same show. But some of what the writers had them doing was disappointing.

In an idyllic lifestyle effectively combining pleasure and profession, high powered defense attorney Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd)and her ex-Army husband Tom (Jim Caviezel), the pleasureful flow of things is broken when Tom gets arrested by the FBI and charged with murdering nine innocent civilians in Las Colinas, a Latin American village during a police action by the Army. Being a defense attorney, Claire decides to defend her husband but is unfamiliar with military tribunal type legal proceedings.

Coming to her aid is washed-out alcoholic attorney Charlie Grimes (Morgan freeman) who warns her that "Military justice is to justice as military music is to music." The duality of that expression is as clear as the believability of dual paths this movie takes. Is Tom really guilty and is there a huge cover-up? Or is Tom really Ron Chapman? Whether he is Tom or Ron, is he not guilty in a case of lying and coercion. It is awful convenient that one charged with mass murder has a different name than when the murders happened. But polygraph and interviews reveal Tom - err - Ron - err - whomever is innocent of the charges. I believe it was Lieutenant Hernandez (Juan Carlos Hernández) who is now a Major who says he is guilty. The Lieutenant says he witnessed Kubik shoot the civilians. Tom says he isn't guilty and even has evidence that the very scars Lt. Hernandez bears are the result of the lieutenant doing the shooting.

Aiding the Kubik/Grimes legal duo is Lt. Embry (Adam Scott), a still wet-behind-the-ears young military attorney with no wins to his credit which doesn't serve well the confidence of Kubik and Grimes. As things progress and discussions and findings discovered by Kubik and Grimes are leaked to the prosecution, Embry is suspected of being a planted cohort of the prosecution. Kubik fires Embry but later discovers he is quite up-n-up.

In a very subjective note, Judd and Freeman are quite the pair for this plot and theme. Judd brings her proven skills in just about any casting, giving a performance that helps the viewer to become part of the proceedings. Freeman is and always has been the wise mentor in just about any role he plays and he does a very good part of it in High Crimes, effectively enough that one doesn't question whatever he says about anything. Caviezel is discomforting in his performance, discomforting that the viewer can easily believe either of the two "paths of truth" in this movie, marking a superb performance caliber. High Crimes could have been a fine Saturday night at the movies movie ... if it were not for several matters, one of which is the R-13 caliber of the script.

In addition to the matters revealed in the first paragraph of this Summary/Commentary, there are many other examples of inappropriate programming, whether 13 or 30. One example is several visual and vocal suggestions of intercourse though not seen [Rev. 21:8, Rev 22:15]. Whether Judd and Caviezel play a married couple in the movie, they are not married when they get their paychecks for their performances. Even if they were, intercourse is unfit in and as movie entertainment because of several things, not the worst of which is the implantation of impure thoughts [1Ths. 4:7, Eph. 5:5]. And if drinking alcoholic beverages in entertainment was not such a problem, why is there and has there been such a push to get booze commercials off primetime TV? Graphic gunfire murder, physical assaults and firearm threats to the face are not something our middle schoolers if any of us should be thinking about nowadays if ever [Phil. 4:8]. There is much more in this movie that might and maybe should be of concern to the Christian parents and grandparents listed in the Findings/Scoring section.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless [naqah {naw-kaw'}: blameless, innocent] that taketh his name in vain. [If God's name is not spoken in reverence or somber discussion with respect and honor, it is spoken in vain.]
  • Prov. 6:20 - 35 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away; for jealousy arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse the bribe, however great it is.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • 1Ths. 4:7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
  • Eph. 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No [unforgiven] immoral, impure or greedy person -such a man is an idolater -has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    High Crimes (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • home intruders with property damage
  • graphic assault
  • threats with firearm including to head
  • fight
  • stalking/intimidation, repeatedly
  • beating
  • brutalization of wife
  • "accidental" killing of 3 children (unseen) by military aggression

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 39 uses of the three/four letter word
  • sex tattoo
  • lies

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear, repeatedly
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing, repeatedly
  • "husband/wife" preparing for intercourse
  • sex talk, repeatedly
  • inappropriate touch
  • man/woman in bed together
  • man and woman in bedroom together in underwear, intercourse strongly suggested
  • prostitute
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly
  • suggestive eye movement
  • vulgar gesture
  • brief after-intercourse nudity
  • man and woman together nude (unseen)
  • planning sex
  • striptease bar with full rear nudity
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • sex offers
  • two prostitutes servicing one man, obviously nude but unseen
  • partial nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar
  • booze, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • four uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and five without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • dead bodies (murder victims), repeatedly
  • murders by explosion
  • gunfire murders, graphic
  • assault with intent to kill resulting in murder of unborn child
  • nine murders by military aggression, three seen (graphic) and six unseen

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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