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CITADEL: Episode 1.1-2: “The Human Enigma” and “Spies Appear in Night Time”

"Spy Vs. Spy"


What You Need To Know:

CITADEL is a new spy thriller on Amazon Prime. In the first two episodes, a spy named Mason Kane and his former partner, Nadia, are two of the last living agents of Citadel, an independent spy agency working against an evil crime syndicate called Manticore. Run by eight of the world’s richest families, Manticore has found a hidden black case that holds all of Citadel’s remaining secrets and access to the world’s nuclear weapons. Mason has retrieved the case, but Manticore has captured Citadel’s current director, which places Mason’s wife and daughter in danger.

The first two episodes of CITADEL are fast-paced with lots of thrills and good performances. Though some parts seem to stretch credulity, the story gets quickly to the point and strongly holds the viewer’s attention. The first two episodes of CITADEL have a strong moral, pro-family worldview. However, they have lots of strong foul language, including a fair number of “f” words and two strong profanities. Also, there’s some slightly excessive bloody, intense violence and a gratuitous reference to same-sex marriage. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for CITADEL.


(BB, PC, Ho, LLL, VVV, S, A, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview about stopping an evil organization funded by eight of the richest families in the world using nefarious means to accumulate wealth and power, and hero is fighting to protect his family, plus a politically correct homosexual element in one scene where a man’s ex-wife introduces another woman as her “wife”

Foul Language:
Episode 1.1 has seven “f” words, three other obscenities, one Jesus profanity, one light profanity and Episode 1.2 has 18 “f” words, five other obscenities, one Jesus profanity, six light profanities

Strong, intense action violence in first two episodes, but some of it has some slightly excessive bloodletting and shootings and stabbings, including two men fight in a restroom with fists and shards of glass and a knife-like gadget and a gun until one breaks a window and kicks his opponent out (some blood from a glass shard being plunged into one’s leg, and a body flies out a window and hits the ground, presumably dying on impact), a man and woman fight many assailants on a train with handguns and shotguns and improvised weapons like forks (many fatalities, some with blood splattering on walls), woman’s leg is inured, a man derails a train by committing suicide with a powerful grenade, two men stand in a room with many bloody bodies of people they have apparently been recently interrogating (much blood on floors and bodies), a man plays a card game with people tied to chairs before executing them with a pistol shot to the head (some blood splatter), a man kidnaps a family, a man puts a family to sleep with an unspecified gas in a van, a man throws a knife at a man’s head, and the man catches it, some images of worldwide wars and disasters, a wounded woman wakes up in a man’s house and fights for her life with many improvised weapons against the man who looks like he wanted to rape her, there is some wrestling and punching and slashing and stabbing until she finally kills her opponent (many painful bouts of hand-to-hand combat culminate in an object being pushed into a person’s abdomen, with blood pouring from the wound, until the person dies); a dead body is shown in a pool of blood several times, a man is shot while driving a car but survives (there’s blood on his head and shoulders), a man and woman fight another man in a restaurant, a man stabs a man and wrenches the knife in the wound, a man mercilessly beats a woman, and a woman stabs a man in the back and kicks him unconscious

A married couple sit on a bed in preparation for sex, but their child’s cries interrupt them, and it’s implied in one scene that a man intends to rape a woman

No explicit nudity but a woman wears a dress that reveals a great deal of cleavage

Alcohol Use:
Some social drinking

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
The head of an international spy organization says his group has been fighting to keep the world safe for 100 years because the world’s national spy groups have been starting wars, committing assassinations and creating trouble, and he hides several things from the hero for what he, apparently, thinks is “the greater good,” but there’s a hint of moral relativism and moral expediency in his perspective, which could be resolved in future episodes.

More Detail:

CITADEL is a new spy thriller on Amazon Prime. In the first two of six episodes, an evil criminal organization called Manticore and founded by eight of the world’s richest families decimates an independent international spy agency called Citadel, which fights for the “greater good.” Eight years later, Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), the surviving director of Citadel, locates his best agent, Mason Kane, whose memory has been wiped and now is married with a wife and daughter. Orlick asks Mason, who’s thinks his name is Kyle Conroy, to stop Manticore from unlocking a black Citadel case with access to the location of all its remaining agents and access to the world’s nuclear weapons.

Orlick and Mason travel to New York City to infiltrate Manticore’s building where it’s unlocking the encrypted codes that can open the case. Mason retrieves the case, but he’s followed and a car chase with Manticore’s top agent begins. The bad gut catches up with them, Orlick is wounded, a gunfight ensues, and Orlick is captured, but Mason gets away with the case.

Manticore is sure to find Mason and his family, who are hiding out in Wyoming, anxious for him to return. Mason’s only hope is to make contact with another former Citadel agent, Nadia, in Spain, unlock her wiped memories and continue the fight against Manticore.

The first two episodes of CITADEL are a fast-paced, taut spy thriller that wastes little time throwing viewers into the action and moving its plot along at a very good clip. Stanley Tucci’s performance as the mastermind behind Citadel is engaging and convincing. Richard Madden’s Mason Kane and Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Nadia make a great team. The program’s JASON BOURNE mind wipe motif is as enthralling as it was for Jason, and the revelation of the high stakes involved is thrilling.

That said, some elements may seem to stretch reality a bit too far. For example, the program’s implication that Citadel is the virtuous white horse in a chess game of international hegemony seems to present a lack of nuance. Of course, the other episodes in the first season of the series may contain some twists that turn around this first impression.

The first two episodes of CITADEL have a strong moral worldview. For instance, the characters are generally likable and upright, seeking to punish evil and promote the good. Also, the hero clearly prioritizes his family, saying, “You are all that matters to me.” However, the first two episodes have a lot of strong foul language, including a fair number of “f” words and two strong profanities. There’s also a scene where the Citadel director’s ex-wife introduces a woman as her current “wife.” Finally, the first two episodes of CITADEL have lots of intense, strong violence. Some of the violence is a little excessive. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

Please check MOVIEGUIDE®’s website for reviews of CITADEL’s other four episodes in Season One.

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