Commandments
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

In this modern-day story with parallels to the Book of Job, Seth Warner (Aidan Quinn) is hit by a series of catastrophes, beginning with the drowning death of his newly pregnant wife. His house is destroyed by a tornado. He's fired from his job, and his boss' only explanation is that "My heart is hardened toward you." On top of a building contemplating suicide, Seth is struck by lightning but escapes serious injury, although his dog is crippled. Since he can't get any heavenly response, "until I get an answer." Seth quickly disposes of the easier Commandments carving idols, using God's name in vain and dishonoring the Sabbath and his father by blaspheming in a Jewish temple. When he faces some more challenging laws theft, false witness, adultery his sister-in-law Rachel (Courteney Cox) and her journalist husband Harry (Anthony La Paglia) become part of the plan. Seth's blatant rebellion might sound like serious business, and often it is. But the focus of Commandments shifts constantly, from dark comedy to romance to deep theological contemplation. Viewers will feel uneasy about the humor and confused about how to react to this material.

Although Seth defies God, the film doesn't justify his actions and has some respect for His laws. However, there are moments where Seth's deliberate sin is used as a source for humor. The story ends with a miraculous event, but no sense about how Seth has been affected by his experiences. The film is too contemporary in several areas, particularly its many crude words and obscenities. Seth is shown committing adultery with Rachel in a sex scene with suggested nudity. Two more brief sex scenes have no nudity, one involving Harry's adulterous relationship. Harry and Seth have a confrontation with some punching and kicking, and later Seth fires a gun and injures Harry's ear. Commandments poses some familiar questions and is not sacrilegious with its regard to God and His laws, but any serious discussion is undermined by its many offensive elements.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Gramercy Pictures, 9247 Alden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90048

Summary
Crude Language: Many (23) times Mild 16, Moderate 7
Obscene Language: Many (37) times (f-word 16, s-word 10, other 11)
Profanity: Several (8) times Regular 4 (G-d 1, J 1, C 1, in G's name 1), Exclamatory 4
Violence: Few times Moderate (gun threats, man assaulted)
Sexual Intercourse: Three times (twice with no nudity, once with nudity suggested)
Nudity: Few times Once (brief female breast nudity); near nudity few times (woman in bra, low-cut dresses, obscured nudity in sex scene)Few times Once (brief female breast nudity); near nudity few times (woman in bra, low-cut dresses, obscured nudity in sex scene)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (passionate kissing)
Drug Abuse: Many times (smoking; alcohol drinking)
Other: Man defies God by willfully breaking Ten Commandments
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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