*minor spoilers that shouldn’t ruin the movie for you because, really, if you don’t figure it out when the movies rolling than I can’t help you*
What I did like about this movie was that it wasn’t as predictable as I find a number of movies today. When Clive, Gerald Butler’s character, kills his inmate, sure, you can see it was gong to happen but it stumped me as to why he did it. What was the reason behind his killing the inmate? Was the guy part of the attack on Clives’ family? Was he another killer that got a lenient sentence? And if the goal was to get Clive locked up in solitary – again – why? What could he do from there? The movie did make me think and I like movies that can do that.
I had a bit of hard time concentrating since – and don’t hate me for this but I only just figured it out – I’m not that big a fan of Gerald Butler as an actor. I actually had him confused with the actor that played Denny Duquette on Grey’s Anatomy – Jeffery Dean Morgan – and was sightly disappointed when it wasn’t him. Although, when Gerald strips down in the movie, I did take a moment or two to appreciate that he has a rather finely muscled body. Another thing that threw me out of the movie was what the hell is up with Jamie Foxx’s lips in this movie? I know he has a goat tee there but for some reason it made his mouth so dark it was distracting. Jamie’s usually a decent looking guy but there were moments in the movie, and I’m going to blame them maybe on the lighting, were he just looked off.
I think what was missing from this movie , and I figured it out since I kept comparing it a lot to Last House on the Left, that it didn’t do the prep work for making the viewers care about the characters. There wasn’t a build up to the destruction of the family. It was a wham, bam and your dead ma’am attack. We didn’t have the time to actually feel for the characters or to feel for Clive’s loss so that when he starts his crusade, we weren’t with him on his motivation. Yea, I know, “What’s my motivation?” is cheesy but it’s what really helps a movie stand out.
I do have to say that as the movie progresses you do get a better idea of Clive’s motivation and the fact that it’s not a hit you over the head reason makes more of an impact later on with the movie. Mainly, the unpredictability is what makes this movie not fall into the ‘I just wasted two hours of my life’ category.
Plus, I did have a couple of ‘peeking through my fingers’ moments so it did work on the suspense level. And the violence is definitely upped near the end. I will say, for getting vengeance, Clive was masterful and creative in his methods. I even squeaked at the cell phone moment.
For those of us that have felt shorthanded by the justice system, this movie does appeal to our feelings of ‘helplessness’ when dealing with the courts and that feeling of ‘ it’s just not enough punishment for what that criminal did to you’. Ultimately I really liked what Clive’s true message was that had him destroying most of Philly’s legal department to get across. And in the end, Jamie Foxx’s character, Nick Rice, finally did learn what Clive’s’ lesson was all about.
So if you’re looking for a movie with enough twists to keep you guessing mingled with some rather impressive spillage of blood as well as a true message to get across, Law Abiding Citizen just might meet those requirements for you. And now, a side by side comparison of Gerald Butler to Jeffrey Dean Morgan just so you don’t think I’m way off getting those two actors mixed up from a distance:
You can pick up your own copy of Law Abiding Citizen and Last House of the Left by clicking on the Amazon.com Images below: