Irish cinemagoers aged 16 and over may see the violent new US action film Watchmen following a decision by the Film Appeals Board.
John Kelleher, director of the Irish Film Classification Office (Ifco), had given the film an 18 certificate – in tandem with a similar classification in the UK.
However, a more lenient rating has since been granted following an appeal by the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures. The film goes on release in Ireland, Britain and the US on March 6th.
Kelleher’s office advises viewers on its website that Watchmen contains strong, visceral hyper-realistic violence, including one brutal sexual assault.
We are delighted that Watchmen has been classified as 16, said Niamh McCaul, general manager of Paramount’s Irish office. It increases our potential audience and more importantly will give access to fans that are 16 and over.
BBFC explain their uncut 18 rating for the film
See article from bbfc.co.uk
Watchmen is the latest film from director Zack Snyder and the team behind 300. Based on a famous graphic novel from the 1980s it tells the story of an alternate America in which the Vietnam War was won, Nixon was elected for a third term and costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of society. It was passed ‘18’ for strong bloody violence.
The BBFC Guidelines at ‘15’ state that ‘violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury’. In Watchmen however there are a number of scenes that focus on strong detailed violence and its gory result. In one such example, a man is stabbed through the arm, with it forcefully twisted and broken as the knife is shown penetrating his arm and emerging from the other side. In another, a man is shown being struck in the head with a meat cleaver followed by repeated bloody sight of the cleaver striking the head. Both of these scenes, in addition to one or two others, were considered inappropriate at ‘15’ and better placed at the adult ‘18’ where detail of strong violence is permitted.
Watchmen also contains an attempted rape scene, strong language and sexual activity without strong detail.