Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Movie review - Law Abiding Citizen

I know I said I'd do mostly lesser known movies, but when Law Abiding Citizen popped up on Netflix, I realized I'd completely forgotten it existed. Not because it's a bad movie, which it's not really, but because the ending was bad.

The synopsis says it's about a frustrated man taking justice into his own hands and lashing out at the DA. But that skips over so much of the depth of the film, which does a fair job of highlighting the BS of the so-called justice system. Deals and bargains for expediency, and closed cases, and not actual justice meted out to criminals. Gerard Butler's character is lashing out against a corrupt system that can barely say it follows the laws of the land.

Gerard Butler only chews on the edges of the scenes, and delivers some pretty good monologues as he makes his point. His character is crazy-smart, and it's hard to disagree with some of the points he makes.

Jamie Foxx does well as a driven attorney, putting aside family for his career. It's always nice to see him take on a dramatic part rather than clowning around, and he sells it well. You can really see the frustration as he gets played by Butler.

Being the anti-establishment person I am, I didn't think too poorly of Butler's character. He was fighting a corruption by cutting that cancer out, but giving everyone involved a chance to make things right. He was drawing attention to a problem, and might have woken the populace to it had he reached the final stage.

And that's where I got upset with the movie; the climax. Foxx doesn't beat Butler by being smarter, or by changing his own corrupt ways, but by cheating and abusing the laws and system he's supposed to uphold. He willingly commits murder with no remorse.

Plus, there are the flaws in the writing itself at that point. Hypersmart Butler didn't have any failsafes or warning systems if anyone but himself entered the secret lair? He didn't set up the big boom long before everyone was looking for him?  It was just a case of the writer deciding bad guy has to lose, so he suddenly isn't smart and leaves big holes for the good guys to find. He wasn't actually hoisted by his own petard, but that's how we're supposed to see it.

I would definitely recommend this, if only for Butler playing headgames with Foxx. Just know the ending may or may not actually be satisfying.

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