Saturday, October 17, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen

Law Abiding Citizen is an intellectually challenging movie. No, don't go running away, it's not THAT intellectual, but it poses a dilemma almost from the beginning. Do you root for the man whose family was slaughtered and is out for a little vengeance/justice or for the cops & prosecutors who, despite making the occasional compromise, are representing the foundations of our society?

Gerard Butler, whose American accent still isn't, plays the guy who is offing the people involved with his family's murder from inside a jail cell. Jamie Foxx plays the ADA who is at the center of the mayhem. The movie keeps its secrets pretty well and when you get to the reveal, it doesn't feel like a let-down. Law Abiding Citizen is very violent - almost slasher-porn at times - with on-screen killings that aren't for the squeamish.

I'm not sure who I was rooting for, with both sides making a good case. That's kind of nice, as most movies have distinct good-guys and bad-guys, and it's clear who's side you should be on. In the end the movie wraps things up nicely but neither side scores a clear victory. As a modern-day Death Wish, I can stand to see one movie this violent and morally gray per year and this one fit the bill pretty well.  It doesn't aim to be much more than a suspenseful potboiler and in keeping its aim low, hits the target pretty much in the middle.


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