Allowing kids watch latest Batman akin to 'child abuse': Complaints from cinema-goers revealed

Allowing kids watch latest Batman akin to 'child abuse': Complaints from cinema-goers revealed

Robert Pattinson in The Batman: A concerned parent said their child was 12 and they were 'sickened' to think film was appropriate for them. Picture: Jonathan Olley/DC Comics 

“Stupid regulations”, claims the film classifier had become desensitised to violence, as well as concerns over “sadistic, graphic violence” were among the complaints made last year by cinema-goers.

In one complaint, the Irish Film Classification Office (Ifco) was told allowing young kids to watch the latest Batman was akin to “child abuse”.

In their email, the concerned parent said their child was 12 and they were “sickened” to think the film was appropriate for them.

“Where is the common sense?” said an email, “how desensitised have you become to such intense violence?” 

In response, the film classifier said they wanted to clarify that The Batman — which starred Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz  and Colin Farrell — had actually been given a 15A rating.

Acting director of Ifco George Sinclair said: “[These movies] can be seen by persons younger than 15, if they are accompanied by an adult who has deemed the film appropriate viewing for that child.” 

In another complaint, a parent wrote about how they had been stopped at the cinema from bringing their son to see the latest Jackass movie.

“What kind of stupid regulations are in place where a parent cannot choose what is appropriate or not?” said an email.

In response, Ifco said Jackass Forever had been given the rating not just because it was not suitable for youngsters but also for audience members that could be made uncomfortable by the presence of children at such a film.

In an email, it said: “By way of context, the film received the stricter rating of 18 in the UK.” 

The complainant was satisfied with the response and said they had been convinced. However, they joked they could not forgive the office for having banned Monty Python’s Life of Brian in the 1970s.

In response, a member of the Ifco team wrote: “Glad to say I can’t take personal responsibility for Life of Brian ;-)” 

Another letter said The Northman had escaped lightly with a 16 rating and should have been classified for only over-18s.

Their complaint said: “Very horrific and sadistic, graphic violence pretty much for the entire runtime”. 

In response, Ifco said it understood that sometimes people would disagree with its ratings but age classification for The Northman was at the “higher end” compared to other countries.

It was one of two complaints about The Northman, with another woman saying she was “disgusted by the violence” in the film.

Two complaints were also received about Indian film Kaduva that included a controversial and insensitive scene talking about disability.

In response, Ifco said it was not condoning the offensive dialogue but that it was not sufficient grounds to withhold a certificate for the film.

Mr Sinclair wrote: “Often there is dialogue and scenes within movies that the viewer may find distasteful and offensive but as long as the movie is not obscene or indecent … an appropriate certificate will be granted.” 

A complaint was also made about the level of drug use in the film The Forgiven, with a member of the public urging an 18 certificate.

In response, Ifco said it felt a 16 rating was justified based on scenes of drug use, strong bad language, and moderate violence and threat.

Another complaint was also received about a pre-movie advertisement at a children's film that featured “doom and gloom” about climate change.

“I could feel the anxiety rising in my 11-year-old,” said an email, “and here’s the odd bit, the advert was for a bank.” 

In a statement, Mr Sinclair said their office aimed to provide a modern and dependable system of classification that protected children and younger people.

He said: “Ifco received 10 complaints in 2022. For context, there were 20 complaints in 2019, five complaints in 2020 and three complaints in 2021. The low number of complaints in 2020 and 2021 would coincide with restrictions on cinemas operating due to Covid.

“Ifco welcomes feedback from consumers on any issues they may have with classifications awarded by this office.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd