This week in BBFC Guidelines, Part 2

Monday January 25th 2010

Consumer Advice: Contains strong language and violence

According to the extended classification information, the aforementioned language is ‘often used in tense war zone scenarios by exasperated or angry soldiers’, but not both, presumably. Most of the film is ‘shot with a hand-held camera’ (big surprise there then) and there is also ‘some mild and moderate language such as ‘dick’, ‘shit’ and ‘Goddamn” if ‘fuck’ isn’t your cup of tea.

Consumer Advice: Contains strong language, once very strong, and strong bloody violence

The most fascinating BBFC guidelines are always the ones that use the word ‘once’. It has the immediate effect of forcing everyone in the cinema (or maybe it’s just me) to sit and wait for the word ‘cunt’. You know it’s only going to happen once. And you don’t want to miss it.

Consumer Advice: Contains strong language and bloody violence

There are ‘around 30 uses of strong language’ in Egde of Darkness and the violence is described extensively by the BBFC, using phrases such as ‘blood sprays’, ‘bloody gore’, ‘huge splashes of blood’ and ‘brief blood spurts’.

But what I’m really excited to see are the ‘mild sex references (for example ‘you wanted to have sex with her’)’ and the ‘mildly upsetting scenes of people vomiting’. Hardcore.

Consumer Advice: Contains one mouthed use of very strong language

If ever you needed an example of the absurdity of the ratings system, here it is. Here is a description of the scene mentioned in the above guideline:

‘Eliza has caused a traffic jam and is facing a barrage of abuse by the frustrated drivers behind her. One such driver shouts: ‘We can’t move, you cunt!’. The very strong language is actually inaudible as it is obscured by the coincidental blaring of a car horn but it is clearly identifiable from the character’s lip movements. Its presence is further confirmed when Eliza upbraids the man for using ‘the c-word in front of a child’.’

So not only is there no actual use of the word ‘cunt’ but its use is also presented in an entirely negative light and explicitly criticised by the lead character. And yet the scene is deemed to be inappropriate for every 14-year-old in the country. For once, the MPAA were actually the voice of reason here, passing it with a sensible PG-13 rating in the States. Whereas the BBFC seem more concerned with explaining why it didn’t quite make it into the 18-category.