Director wants ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ to have ‘noir-ish vibe’

September 2, 2009 | Law Abiding Citizen News

F. Gary Gray says he wants a “noir-ish” approach to Law Abiding Citizen.

The upcoming film, Law Abiding Citizen, stars Gerard Butler as a man who goes on a vengeance crusade, from his jail cell, after his daughter is killed in a home invasion, and the man responsible cuts a deal with prosecutor Jamie Foxx. The movie opens October 16th, and director F. Gary Gray has been covering the final aspects of post-production on Twitter. His latest tweets involve the film’s distinctive music.

Gray says: “When I took on this project I felt like having a retro, kind of noir-ish vibe as the best approach for this movie, and I felt like the music had to have the same feel.”
It does. Rather using synthesizers, composer Bryan Tyler took a fifty-two piece orchestra into the recording studio.

This is consistent with Gray’s usual MO. On his previous film, the remake of The Italian Job, virtually all the stunts were done “practical,” rather than employing CGI and other special effects techniques.

Like the Western, film noir is a quintessentially American genre. Unlike the western, it’s difficult to define. Film noir is a term that was coined by French film critics to refer to a group of American films, most made after World War II, that were made quite independently of each other but had certain common denominators. Generally, they were low budget, hard-boiled crime thrillers, usually filmed in black and white, and visually often influenced by the earlier German expressionists. By and large films came to be regarded as film noir in retrospect. There didn’t tend to be a conscious effort to make films in a film noir style at the time. Modern directors, like F. Gary Gray, however, are very aware of the legacy of this unique group of very American films.

“The sound that I was looking for was a unique sound that fit the retro vibe and look of the picture,” Gray says. “Having an orchestra versus kind of a more synthesized sound gets me closer to the era I was looking for and Bryan is doing an amazing job, along with the orchestra, of making it feel unique and feel organic.”

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