Seeking Justice

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Posted March 18, 2012 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: drama, thriller
 
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
MPAA Rating: R
 
Actors: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce
 
Length: 105 minutes
 
Release Date: 3/16/2012
 
Studio: Endgame Entertainment, Aura Film Partnership, Fierce Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment, Material Pictures, Ram Bergman Productions, Maguire Entertainment
 
 
What We Thought

I couldn’t recommend it more if you want to watch something really, really terrible.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Will Gerard (Nic Cage) is a high school English Lit teacher, and married to a beautiful wife, Laura (January Jones).  One night, Will gets a call from the emergency room.  His wife was beaten and raped at gunpoint.  Sitting in the hospital waiting room, he’s approached by Simon (Guy Pearce).  Simon is involved with a secret organization that deals with people like his wife’s attacker.  Simon offers to help Will in exchange for a small favor later.  Will agrees.
     But Simon asks for a lot more than Will bargained for.  Simon tells Will that Dan Marsh, a target of his vigilante group, is a child pornographer, and he wants Will to murder him.  Will has a crisis of conscience, and refuses to go through with it at the last minute, prompting Simon to threaten to kill his wife unless he complies.  There seems to be more yet to Simon’s group than meets the eye, and the police end up pursuing an innocent Will as well.
     Unfortunately, Seeking Justice never generates an iota of tension or suspense from this premise.  The world of the film never comes off as credible.  The idea of a secret, vigilante group is fine, but not one that meets clients in public, face-to-face where there are cameras.  Wouldn’t calling the client from a pay phone be safer for them, and more mysterious to the audience? And why pressure an unwilling Will to do the hit on Marsh when they could use one of their own willing and proven members, which they seem to have in spades?  And shouldn’t a group committed to justice and fairness spell out that Will must kill for them in return?
     And that hits on another problem with Seeking Justice.  The film doesn’t generate tension because it’s hard to stay on board with the hero.  Will consents to the murder of his own wife’s rapist, but suddenly develops an appreciation for life when asked to kill a child pornographer.  How convenient.  Pearce doesn’t at first play Simon as a villain, but as a sympathetic man who’s committed to justice when the law fails, so we end up on the “villain’s” side instead.
      Late in the film, Seeking Justice has a couple of intentionally silly scenes in one of those “follow instructions from a cell phone” scenarios; the film has given up on itself, and is just going through the motions in the third act.  It’s just as well.
     This film is bad, laughably bad.  I was actually entertained at just how ludicrous and poorly done this potboiler is.  This is the kind of film that flashes back to five minutes ago to show what the hero is thinking.  It has so little faith in the audience to figure out that maybe, just maybe, the hero is thinking about his wife’s attack that it flashes back not once, not twice, but three different times.  This film stands in resolute, unwavering defiance in the face of plausibility, without seeming to know it.  I couldn’t recommend it more if you want to watch something really, really terrible.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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