MPAA upholds NC-17 rating on Jennifer Lynch's 'Chained'
Another movie has been branded with an NC-17 by the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
The filmmaker and distributor behind “Chained,” a thriller about a serial killer starring Vincent D’Onofrio, saw their appeal rejected by the group on Tuesday. The movie, which was directed by Jennifer Lynch (“Boxing Helena,” and daughter of David Lynch) and distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, was given an NC-17 for “some explicit violence.”
It marks a rare instance of an NC-17 rating being given because of violence alone; the MPAA’s harshest tag is usually applied at least in part because of sexual content. The movie centers on a man (D'Onofrio) who kills a young boy's mother and then raises the boy as his murderous protege.
Lynch does have a history with the MPAA's toughest rating--she received an NC-17 in 1993 for "Boxing Helena," which depicted a man amputating a woman and keeping her in a box. Lynch and an executive from Anchor Bay argued on behalf of the filmmakers on Tuesday.
The rejected appeal for "Chained" marks the second time in the last six weeks that an appeals board for the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration has decided to stick with an NC-17 on an independent movie. In March, the group upheld raters’ decision to give the Matthew McConaughey hit-man picture ”Killer Joe” an NC-17 for “graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality."
The NC-17 has been a little-used tool by the MPAA since replacing the notorious X rating several decades ago. But either because filmmakers are pushing the envelope or because the MPAA has become more serious about using it, the NC-17 has surfaced more of late. In the last 18 months, the romantic drama “Blue Valentine” and sex-addict tale “Shame” were also each given an NC-17, with the former overturned on appeal.
Producers did not immediately reply to a request for comment or to say whether they will cut some of the violent scenes in response to the ruling to seek an R.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: A shot from "Chained." Credit: Anchor Bay