Law Abiding Citizen
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a family man. We only have about 10 seconds to like him and we do. He has a little daughter he adores. He jokes around with her and works while spending time with her. A good dad. He teases his wife. Then two men break into his house. One is violent. Very violent. Well, the wife and the kid are murdered. Clyde is left to die but he survives. He probably wishes he hadn’t, though. Not only he has lost the people he loved so much, he also witnesses the betrayal from the DA. Oh, yes. The DA-Nick (Jamie Foxx)- is not a bad guy but he loves his career and is going by the motto “some justice is better than no justice at all”. It is with this perception that he makes a deal with one of the murderers. The other one is set free on bail- the cruel one- the real guilty one. The problem is, Nick didn’t try to take it to the trial. He didn’t try. Sure, the judge is an analytical bitch (I am being flattering) and the chances of sending them both away were minimal. But this is where the jury system could have proved reliable. They would have believed a grieving man, a convict feeling really guilty and the other convict is such a psychopathic asshole that well…they wouldn’t have lost. Not even despite the judge. But this is not a courtroom drama. It is a thriller. It is the story of a father who decides that the system is so corrupt that taking revenge on some specific people won’t do. He decides take the system down. Mind you, this guy begged Nick not to make a deal. Nick did it anyway.
The movie fast forwards ten years. Nick has a good family. It is time for the bad guy to be executed. Well, someone has made sure it is painful. And just when the police think it is the work of psycho they let go, the psycho escapes- only to the arms of Clyde…He has waited for 10 years and the movie really just begins after he kills the murderer.
And he makes sure he gets caught.
It is just impressive. Clyde plays with the DA, the judge, the police, prison staff, FBI, NSA,….you name it. They can’t second guess him and they can’t stop him- he is already behind bars. His every move is pre-planned and systematic. They realize their prisoner is not a psycho. He is not insane. He is just insanely ready and smart.
- Gore? Just the right amount.
- Great acting? Check.
-Great script? Check.
- Wonderful spy stuff? Check?
- A couple of things that makes you wonder? Sure. The film is not perfect.
Yes, the movie is good. Well, I had fallen in love with the trailer and the movie didn’t disappoint me; except for one thing. I am going to give spoilers so consider yourselves
The only one fault for me was that I didn’t want the hero to “lose”. I never considered him bad for one second. Sure, he did kill some supposedly innocent people and there will probably be a lot of disagreeing with me but I never for one second thought Clyde was the bad guy. Consider his victims. I am guessing you have a specific person in mind that didn’t deserve it. But then again, she never really did anything when she was supposed to. She was busy working on her career and getting along with her boss. Yes, law and justice are complicated concepts and I didn’t think she deserved her ending. But I didn’t feel sorry about it either. Because in the end,no one really cares about what happens to other people. No, think about it. You feel sorry for the sufferers But you are not feeling their pain. No matter what a good person you are, or how well you empathize, you are not going to suffer like they do -unless you suffer from the same thing. Yes, a father can understand what a terrible thing it must be to lose a child. But understanding is one thing and going through the same thing is another. And well..Nick doesn’t even empathize until it is too late.
Nick and his assistant cared more about their records. And when does their conscience kick in? When they feel like their lives are in danger; after someone has taught some others their lesson. Convenient.
I didn’t think Clyde would survive. I don’t think he would have gone on to live a long, happy life. He made his point but he failed to make the final one. Great, some lives were saved. But the way it ends for Nick? Now- I love Hollywood but I’m not complimenting when I say the ending is very typical of Hollywood. What could have made the movie a masterpiece would have been a David Fincheresque ending- like Se7en. Nick- learned his lesson. Yes, he suffered. But again, it didn’t happen to him. I would have loved to see Nick lose. Completely lose.
My only two problems:
1) Nick’s ending
2) 2) The very first scene when Clyde opens the door without asking who is behind it. I mean really?? Yes, it had to be done to start the movie but Clyde is not a dim wit. He is an “intelligence” (I mean intelligence in the CIA sense) genius. He knows what a crappy place the world is. And he just opens the door?????
Other than that, this is just very well-done.