Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Seeking Justice

Once again, Netflix streaming comes through for me with quite a nice movie in their “recommendations” section.  Looking for a change in my movie-watching the other day, I decided to browse through Netflix to see what I might like and I found 2011’s Seeking Justice, starring Nicolas Cage.  Thinking it was something along the lines of Law Abiding Citizen or Death Sentence, I was pleasantly surprised that it was something more intense and had quite a serious tone—something Cage seems to be fleeing from nowadays.  Although it left me with a few unanswered questions, I liked it a lot and found it quite entertaining.

When it comes to Nicolas Cage in films these days, it’s almost comedic how many movies he releases per year.  In 2011, he was featured in five movies; yet in 2012, there’s only one movie on his IMDb.com credits.  2013 has him with three and he’s got four, so far, slated for 2014.  But no matter how many movies he works on, one thing for sure, you’ll enjoy them to some degree. 

As Seeking Justice came up on the “popular” section of Netflix streaming, what caught my eye was when I read the description about a man who seeks justice after his wife is brutally assaulted and raped.  It made me believe that this was some kind of film about Nicolas Cage tracking down some guy who did unspeakable things to his wife and how he was going to get revenge.  But that wasn’t the case at all.  The other thing that caught my eye (and this was when the credits started popping up during the start of the film) was the cast featured within.  With all these well-known actors and actresses, how come I’ve never heard of this film?  I don’t remember Seeking Justice ever showing up in TV spots or even seeing trailers or posters in theaters.  It’s funny, because this is the second film I’ve enjoyed from Cage that has shown up in my Netflix streaming “recommendations” column, the first being Trespass.

Whatever the case, I chose the movie and decided to watch it.

Will Gerard (Cage), a school teacher, and his wife, Laura (January Jones), a musician, are a happily married couple, living in New Orleans.  One night, as Will is at a chess club with his friend, Jimmy (Harold Perrineau), who is the principal at the school where Will teaches, Laura is at music practice with her good friend, Trudy (Jennifer Carpenter).  After practice, Laura is brutally assaulted and raped by some unknown
man.  Will finds out later and goes to the hospital where she’s recovering.  As he goes to sit in the waiting room, he’s approached by a man named Simon (Guy Pearce) and offering to help “take care” of the man responsible for Laura’s attack.  Simon says that all Will will have to do in return is help later with being a lookout or with a call, giving him some vague reasoning.  At first Will doesn’t accept, but then reluctantly agrees.  After the assailant is dispatched, made to look like a suicide, Simon let’s Will know the job is done and that he’ll be contacted later on for what he can do for Simon.  Soon, Will finds out he’s in over his head.

It’s nice to see Nicolas Cage give a good performance in a film, leaving most of his eccentricities at the door and giving us someone we can see ourselves as.  We really don’t see him goof around much in this film…I think the only time he does is when he’s imitating James Brown for a brief moment as he jokes around with his wife and friends.  We see ourselves making the exact choices he makes, so there’s really no move he makes illogically.

January Jones is all right in her part as the wife, although there doesn’t seem to be a lot of chemistry between her and Cage.  Maybe it’s because I kept thinking of her off screen capers, how she’s sort of despised for certain things she has said in the media…but that shouldn’t affect my judgment of her performance.  She was okay.

I’ve always liked Harold Perrineau, from his time in “Lost” to his villainous role in “Sons of Anarchy,” he’s always been a solid actor in everything I’ve seen him in and doesn’t disappoint in this one.

Jennifer Carpenter is wasted in this film, limited to a few minutes—the filmmakers could’ve gotten someone else to just be “the friend” to January Jones’s character.  I was looking forward to her in this film because, being a fan of Showtime’s “Dexter,” I’ve always noticed she can have quite a range when it comes to showing emotion.  Maybe Carpenter and Jones should’ve swapped roles…I think that might’ve added to the film.

Guy Pearce nails it as Simon, the lead man of this secret organization.  He comes across as someone who youthink you can trust and you find yourself believing you’d do the same thing if you were Nicolas Cage’s character because Pearce seems so damned honest.  But he plays that nice-guy-come-backstabber so eloquently; he should get parts like this one more often.

One question that rang in my head after watching this: How does the organization that Simon runs get funded?  Seems that they recruit people like Will, who want justice or revenge, to do these deeds, but how does this pay off for them?  Is this just some club they have?  Do they all have day jobs?  It just doesn’t seem logical.  They all have some nice firepower, brand new black SUVs, cool wardrobes, so where’s the money coming from to pay for all this?  All this kind of went through my mind as I watched and I was waiting for some explanation as to how the group gets financed, but it never comes to fruition.  And, if they’re such ghosts that they can get into locked apartments or schools and they can beat any type of security, why don’t they just do the bad deeds themselves?   Why recruit some average Joe to do what they want and risk them fucking it up?  That’s the few things that I thought about while watching this film.

And my final “bit”?

Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m praising this movie, but you need to see it for the enjoyment level you’ll get out of it.  Seeking Justice is most certainly a ridiculous movie played out with a serious tone, but it’s not thought-provoking or something that’ll make you analyze what you’ve just seen, just a good popcorn movie to sit and enjoy watching.  It’s not a perfect movie—there’s no message here, no moral of the story (unless one that says you shouldn’t get involved with a secret organization), just an interesting story from start to finish.  But…at the end…seems like they wanted to go with a sequel.  Well…just remember…”the hungry rabbit jumps.”

Thanks for reading and I welcome any comments!

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