‘Citizen’ better than advertised

October 29, 2009 | Law Abiding Citizen Reviews

The new suspenseful crime drama, Law Abiding Citizen, starring Jamie Foxx
(Any Given Sunday, Ray) and Gerard Butler (300, P.S. I love you) released Oct 16th and is better than advertised.

It has a great cast of characters and a very good plot. Between the action scenes, the movie occasionally pauses from the mayhem to stage a solemn debate about law, justice and morality.

Foxx plays hotshot Prosecutor Nick Rice, who is well known in the city of Philadelphia and quite sure that he’s the cleverest and coolest person in the room. This does not seem like much of a stretch for Foxx, who is cashing in on his Oscar rather than going after a second one.

Butler plays a character that is driven by anger and revenge. Shelton, a devoted father and husband, is an ex-inventor who did projects with government agents. Their paths collide after Butler’s family is attacked and murdered on a home invasion, and Foxx is put on the case.

Nick Rice, who works for the District Attorney’s Office, tries to talk Shelton into accepting that the plea bargain is for the best and that going to trial might have allowed the attackers to walk free. After pleading down one of the attackers to only three years, Foxx drives Butler into a plan of retribution against a corrupt system that allows vicious criminals to roam the streets free. Butler’s character, feeling like he was let down by the system, purposely gets himself locked up in prison and then into solitary.

Tens years after the conviction, he begins to pull of acts of revenge against anyone involved in the crime and the case that allowed the murderer to be free, from the killers themselves to the mayor.

The most memorable line is when Butler’s character describes the proportion of his huge plan as “Biblical”. “Some lessons must be learned in blood,” Clyde Shelton declares, one of many portentous proverbs that he seems to have learned during his career as a military killing-gizmo specialist.

This movie is truly about the cat-and-mouse game between two very smart guys. This film is not for the squeamish, has several shocks and surprises, and is meditative and thoughtful.

It is a surprisingly good thriller considering how bad it could have been with a lesser cast, script, and direction. The film wants to make us question the inner-workings of law. When dealing with a killer, is it better to leave things to the justice system or take matters into your own hands?

Without wanting to spoil anymore of the movie I will have to worry about a long drawn out movie. It’s got unexpected twist, car bombs, unmanned rocket launcher, and even a prison fight scene. Directed by F. Gary Grey (Be Cool, Italian Job) and written by Kurt Winner (Equilibrium, The Recruit), this thriller has already grossed 403 million since its release on Oct 16th.

I definitely enjoyed this movie, and I am sure that you will, too.

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