Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN - Suspenseful But Senseless

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (crime thriller)
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Bruce McGill, Colm Meaney, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Regina Hall and Viola Davis
Director: F. Gary Gray
Time: 108 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in LAW ABIDING CITIZEN

PREAMBLE: There is a huge chasm between possibility and probability - and Law Abiding Citizen tries to traverse it. The premise of the movie is possible and even ingenious - but it boggles the mind how the acts of terror and sabotage are carried out to perfection.

So if you are one who can suspend disbelief easily, you will probably enjoy this tale about how one man can attempt to screw up the justice system of a major city. If you have a doubting mind, you will be questioning the mechanics every step of the way in this film.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Two guys break into the home of Philadelphia inventor Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) he watches helplessly as they rape and murder his wife and young daughter. Cut to 10 years later when the two murderers are being tried by hotshot prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) who arranges a deal with one of the killers, Darby (Christian Stolte), so he can send the other to death row.

This deal does not spell justice for Clyde - and he sets out not only to get his own brand of vengeance on the perps but also to 'overhaul' the allegedly corrupt system of the Philly Justice Department.

HITS & MISSES: The ruthless attack at the beginning makes no sense at all - and the fast forward by Kurt Wimmer's screenplay opens a flood of questions, like why was Clyde allowed to live, and how would he know that the deal was going to be made in order to make such elaborate preparations?

Apparently, the main thrust of the plot is about how one man can screw up a system - and the twists and turns can be fascinating. The action seems to be a combination of the Saw series, a prison drama and courtroom caper. Butler cuts it fine as the vengeful and charismatic protag while Foxx tempers the senseless plot with his calm and 'politically correct' demeanour. There is a bit of Silence Of The Lamb here with Leslie Bibb as Nick's smart assistant but the subplot is not developed. Other notable performances come from Viola Davis as the no-nonsense mayor and Colm Meaney as Detective Dunnigan.

THE LOWDOWN: Law Abiding Citizen trades sense for suspense and should appeal to action fans.


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