Law Abiding Citizen

"Weak"

Law Abiding Citizen Review


Super-slick filmmaking masks this thriller's reprehensible message that violence can solve any problem. It's so beautifully shot and nicely underplayed by the cast that viewers could be fooled into believing that it's coherent or acceptable. But it's neither.

Clyde (Butler) has his happy life destroyed when a psycho (Stolte) kills his wife and daughter, but his lawyer Nick (Foxx) accepts a plea bargain that lets the killer out of jail in three years. A decade later, Clyde starts his revenge. A spot of brutal torture and murder lands him in prison, but he continues from behind bars with his violent mission to take down the legal system. It's up to Nick and a cop (Meaney) to figure out how he's doing this before he kills them too.

Gaping plot-holes and thinly drawn characters are a problem in any script, although director Gray is adept at keeping us distracted, simply because he doesn't pause to let us examine the plot's enormous improbabilities (much of this hinges on a revelation that throws logic out the window). Meanwhile, each person in the story is defined by filmmaking shorthand, such as a warmly inviting home, a cute child or a reference to some sort of lovelife.

The actors play these elements perfectly, making us believe the non-existent back-stories so that we accept them as rounded characters, even though they have no shadings at all. Foxx is magnetic as usual, and his interaction with colleagues (McGill, Bibb and Bart), his wife (Hall), daughter (Young) and Philadelphia's mayor (Davis) convinces us that he's the good guy. On the other hand, Butler struggles to make us sympathise with his despicable character, who is clearly meant to be righteously indignant.

Except that there's nothing remotely righteous about him. Not one of his actions is forgivable; he's more of a danger than the men who killed his family. And this is the fact that's completely lost on the filmmakers, as there's never a sense that brutality and death are the wrong way to correct an injustice. Indeed, as the pernicious story progresses even the cops, lawyers and judges become cold-blooded killers, and we're supposed to cheer for them.

Which is inexcusable.



Law Abiding Citizen

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th October 2009

Box Office USA: $73.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $126.7M

Budget: $53M

Distributed by: Overture Films

Production compaines: Film Department, The, Evil Twins, Warp Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 117

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Mark Gill, , Alan Siegel,

Starring: as Nick Rice, as Clyde Alexander Shelton, as Detective Dunnigan, as Jonas Cantrell, as Sarah Lowell, as Detective Garza, as Warden Iger, as Kelly Rice, Emerald-Angel Young as Denise Rice, Christian Stolte as Clarence Darby, as Judge Laura Burch, as Bill Reynolds, as Mayor April Henry, as Bray, as Rupert Ames, as Brian Bringham

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.