Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review of Law-Abiding Citizen

3.5 /5 stars. ****
This movie impacted me in such a way that I still thought about it for days afterward.
The writing was cohesive and impeccable. F. Gary Gray's directing was as succinct and sharp as usual. Gerard Butler's acting was superb; he was convincing as a loving father -- and as an angry psychopath! Jamie Foxx was excellent as usual. All the actors were perfect for their respective roles-- whether big or small.
This is not your typical revenge thriller. There were 2 keys missing: (1) The character development , as it relates to the relationship between the protagonist and his loved ones (the ones that were abducted or murdered). (2) Secondly, the protagonist is usually written in such a way that invokes sympathy for him for the duration of the film. Case in point: "Taken" is an exemplary and perfectly executed revenge thriller. I cannot elaborate on the first key I mentioned and why Law -Abiding Citizen did not satisfy it because you should see for yourself. In regards to the second key... my sympathy for Butler's character went out the door within 15-20 minutes after his arrest. This is when I get disappointed by much of the film.
All this leaves me with this ponderable ... Maybe this film is not really a revenge thriller OR it is just a uniquely crafted one by Kurt Wimmer, the screenwriter.
Ultimately, Butler's character's motives were not just about revenge and as a whole, it had a complex multi-layered story with many surprises and plot twists that any film enthusiast who truly thinks about what they are seeing and hearing, beyond what is on the surface, should appreciate.

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