August 6, 2008
Parental concern over the violent scenes in the new Batman film reached new heights yesterday.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith added his voice to protests that the 12A 'family friendly' rating granted by the British Board of Film Classification was woefully inadequate.
He wrote to the The Times saying that after seeing the movie with his 15-year-old daughter he was 'astonished' that The Dark Knight could be seen by much younger children.
His criticism follows Mail columnist Allison Pearson's condemnation of the film last week as a 'symphony of sadism'.
At cinemas yesterday worried parents were voting with their feet and leaving before the end.
Accountant Suzanne Prinz, 31, who took her seven-year-old son Simon to see the film in Bristol, 'instantly' regretted it.
'We came out before the end because it was much more violent than I thought it would be,' she said.
'It's not a film for children. I turned to him and asked if he was OK and he said he was scared, so I decided it was time to leave.'
Meanwhile, experts lined up to condemn the BBFC for its willingness to put extreme violence before wide audiences.
The board's 12A rating for The Dark Knight allows those aged 12 and older to see it unaccompanied, while much younger children can watch it with an adult.
Daily Mail film critic Christopher Tookey said: 'Although it's been allocated a 12A certificate, it's completely unsuitable for children, who will find it murky, incomprehensible and frightening.'
Former chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Gerald Kaufman said: 'I would certainly not be happy to take a young child along to watch this film.
'I believe children should be protected from violence and the BBFC should be more vigilant and stringent with its certifications.'