Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Law Abiding Citizen

By the looks of the trailer and TV spots, when it was running theatrically, I didn’t think Law Abiding Citizen was going to be that good of a flick, so I never bothered to check it out at that time.  Maybe it was the lack of promotion or that the trailers didn’t highlight the heart of this film, but I just wasn’t interested in it at all.

But not too long after this movie was released onto DVD and Blu-Ray, I decided to place it on my Netflix queue, leaving it resting for quite some time before I finally watched it.  It finally reached the top of the list, probably because I had forgotten to reorganize it to put other movies in front of it, and showed up in my mailbox.  Even after that, all I did was place it in front of my television, letting it sit there, while I watched other films I had in my collection or just flipping through the boob tube.  However, the day came when nothing was on TV and I didn’t feel like watching any of my DVD and Blu-Ray collection, so I grabbed the rental and popped it into my PS3.

So, what did I think about it?

I loved it.

With the star power of the two actors who lead this movie, Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, and a pretty gripping drama featuring just the right amount of action and acts of vengeance, you get this movie.

The movie starts with Clyde Shelton (Butler) at home with his wife and daughter, tinkering with some electronics and having some light banter with his little girl.  His wife calls to their daughter as someone knocks at the door.  Clyde goes to the door and as soon as he opens it, two guys come in knocking him to the floor and binding him arms behind his back.  The bigger of the two pins Clyde down as he slowly stabs him in the abdomen.  He does the same to the wife and is about to start raping her all in front of Clyde.  Suddenly, the daughter walks in and is horrified to see what’s going on.  The two men are taken a back by her appearance, but the bigger of the two gets up and takes the girl out of the room, killing her off-screen.

Turns out, Clyde survives the ordeal with the two men apprehended and going to trial for the murders.  This is where we meet Nick Rice, a prosecuting attorney working with Clyde to make sure the men pay for their crimes.  But Nick informs Clyde that Clarence Darby (the man who did the killing) is prepared to testify against Rupert Ames (the accomplice) in order to get a lesser sentence, making sure Ames gets the death penalty.

Clyde is not happy with this deal and wants Nick to go all out, to try and prosecute both men accordingly.  But, as Nick informs Clyde, if they go for the prosecution that strongly, they may lose the case and both men walk.  Clyde doesn’t care and is sure that they can win the case with his testimony and thinks that the jury will be in their favor.  Nick, however, points out the sad truth about our judicial system and how defense attorneys use any and all tricks of the trade to eat prosecution witnesses alive.  Before Clyde can argue further, Nick informs him that he’s already made the deal, much to Clyde’s disappointment.

The trial goes forth as Nick had indicated, with Clarence Darby getting off the murder rap by testifying against Rupert Ames.  Outside the courtroom, Nick Rice is stopped by reporters and answers some questions as Darby walks up with his attorney, extending his hand for a handshake.  Nick, reluctantly, shakes Darby’s hand, either because of the reporters witnessing the scene or as a simple reflex, and looks off across the street as he does.  Standing across the street, watching the scene that had just unfolded, is Clyde Shelton, looking mortified and wounded.

Cut to ten years later, Nick Rice has clearly moved up in the world.  He has much better digs, very busy in his career, has a daughter who is a young accomplished cellist…he seems pretty content with his life.

The time has come for Rupert Ames to be executed and Nick goes to the viewing to witness it.  What should have been a peaceful death by lethal injection turns out to be a terrible display of a man being killed in a very torturous and excruciating way.  We find out shortly that this is the first in many vengeful acts committed by Clyde Shelton against the broken judicial system that failed him and his family.

As I watched this flick, clearly the best revenge was acted out against Clarence Darby.  You may have to turn your head away from the screen if you’re a little squeamish because he clearly gets his just desserts in that scene (and make sure to watch the unrated version for that part).  There’s clearly some mystery in this story as you begin to wonder who’s helping Shelton out when he’s incapable of acting out the punishment to the people he believes are responsible.

From the beginning of the film until the end, you’re set into a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Because you may find that you’ll be asking yourself who’s side should you be on.

Anyway, this flick is entertaining the whole way through, keeping you on the edge of your seat, wondering what’s going to happen next.  Some of you may think you’d do the same thing if you were in his shoes, some of you may think he went too far.  It’s definitely a movie to think about long after it’s over.

My final “bit” on Law Abiding Citizen?

I love this movie from start to finish and it definitely has the potential to be re-watched over and over…for me anyway.  All I’ll say, to end this, is that my favorite scene in this film is when Clyde Shelton is in court, acting as his own attorney.  I’m sure many of us would love to say what he said to the judge in that scene.  Priceless!

Give it a look-see…you won’t be disappointed.

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