Do you remember a time when vigilante movies were highly popular? When Charles Bronson ruled this subgenre with an iron fist? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Over the years, it branched off into several different, even more specific subgenres. It turns out that the classic thriller premise blends really well with action, comedy, and even horror genres. Law Abiding Citizen is a vigilante or revenge movie perfectly packaged for the average viewer. It’s smart but not too smart. It’s creative and willing to come right up to the line that separates good movies from greats.
And then you start to realize that maybe there was no line and that it’s all a mirage. The story starts feeling unrealistic and contrived and you can’t help your cynical urges from bubbling over. Anyway, that was my experience. There’s something so cathartic about these revenge movies. They use strong emotions to pull the viewer into the story, to place him right next to our hero Clyde. We will perhaps start imagining someone who wronged us and what we would do to them. And then you start telling people at work about this movie and how this is what you would do if they fucked with you.
So, we will be following Clyde Shelton, a man who finds himself in an impossible situation and decides to do something about it. Something morally questionable but definitely against the law. But is the law a real thing when it’s not working as it should? We all know how the justice system works in this country. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because this is one of those movies you just need to dive into. I know that the brutal start may put some people off but it was just so fucking juicy and righteous. Justice, sweet juicy justice to quote Fry from Futurama.
The main premise is incredibly intruging further bolstered by Gerard Butler’s strong performance. He and Jamie Foxx had great chemistry adding even more tension to the story. The ending was not the greatest, probably because everything leading up to it was so meticoulusly planned and executed. However, I don’t thing this takes away much from the movie. After all, Law Abiding Citizen is a mainstream movie, perfect for those weekdays when you want to watch something engaging but not too engaging.
At this point, I must mention that none other than the Devil himself, Frank Darabont was hired to direct this movie but had a falling out with the production. I’m guessing that they have tried to do the same thing they tried with The Mist production, where they wanted to dumb down the story and cut out graphic violence. Considering the ending of this movie I can see why Darabont walked.
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby
Fun Stuff: The ringtone Clarence Darby, the killer, uses for his cellphone is Bloodline by Slayer.