Just when you thought it was safe to go to the movies, director Joe Wright delivers a frightening public service announcement featuring his “Pride and Prejudice” star Keira Knightley. The PSA is set to screen before films in UK movie theaters while a shortened version will hit British television sets April 6th.
The ad depicts Knightley returning home late one evening from a movie shoot only to find a mirror in her house shattered and blood on the floor. Her significant other, be it boyfriend or husband, appears to have gone off the deep end and is overcome with jealousy. What ensues next is both brutal and horrifying. Knightley turns to the camera, as if to suggest the actor playing her mate has gone off script. And then the violence ensues.
Having witnessed far too much domestic abuse as a child, I was stunned upon realizing what this PSA was addressing. Not because the message is new, rather the way Wright crafts this piece is brutal and raw. Domestic violence has been in the headlines recently thanks to the abusive Chris Brown. But it remains an issue for those outside of Hollywood as well. More than five million women are victims of violence every year, according to the American Institute on Domestic Violence. Perhaps more shocking are the yearly health-related costs resulting from violence by an intimate partner, $5.8 billion.
Wright, Knightley and all those involved with the upcoming PSA should be commended for highlighting this issue forcefully. With such high rates of domestic violence, it’s nice to see Hollywood types sending out the right kind of message. Maybe Rihanna should take a hint.