“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Roger Donaldson / Actors: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones, Jennifer Carpenter, Harold Perrineau ... / Blu-ray released 2012-03-26 at Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment „
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On Sky Movies at the moment, I decided to watch this film last night. It sounded fairly promising with Nicholas Cage and Guy Pearce taking leading roles, and the synopsis sounded fairly decent. Unfortunately it 'should' have been a decent film, but it just wasn't.
Will Gerard (Cage) lives an idylic life with his wife Laura (played by January Jones) in New Orleans. Will is an English teacher at the local high school and his wife is a musician. Childless but happy, they live uncomplicated lives until a moment of chaos disrupts everything when Laura is brutally raped. Will is absolutely heartbroken and when an encounter with a man named Simon (Pearce) in the hospital, gives him the opportunity for revenge to be taken, Will is confused. One half of him is a model and honest citizen who would wish no harm on another person no matter the crime, while the other side of him sees his wife broken by the act and he must decide which path he must take. I found the first 15 or so minutes should have taken the opportunity to grab me as a viewer, but it just didn't. At this point it certainly hadn't reached it's full potential, and while I was slightly intrigued I did spend this time deciding whether to stick with it or turn it off. Will is a likeable character as his wife, so it isn't the characters, but something about the acting just wasn't right. I think Cage has unfortunately gone way past his peak of Gone in 60 Seconds, and I am constantly let down by any films I see him in now, but coupled with Guy Pearce being in the film too, I thought it should have been a dead cert, but even his character seemed 'off' in some way. The rape scene for example was over and done with very quickly and while I don't want to see anything in a graphic sense, the rape didn't leave the viewer (or me anyway) feeling particularly upset for the character Laura, it just seemed too innocent for that. I'm not making myself very clear I know, but it just wasn't filmed correctly in my opinion and needed to show the brutality of such a devastating act in the real world.
As this strange character Simon appears more and we start to realise what he is offering to Will, you realise that while Simon and his secret organisation of vigilantes (yes really) are offering to 'eliminate' the rapist, they will also want a favour from Will in the future and it's clear its not going to be to borrow a cup of sugar. Getting to this point (and actually going on into the future scenes) involves lots of short phone calls, of 'meet me here', another phone call 'now meet me there' and secret codes. While I could understand the need for this, it also seemed to over complicate scenes and perhaps was a bit of 'filling' going on.
As Will gets involved with the organisation, he gets himself deeper and deeper into things and has to do all he can to protect himself and his wife. The organisation is bigger than he could have realised and it's going to take a lot to get himself back in the safe and secure life that he knew before.
All in all I was massively let down by this film. It had the potential to be such a good film, as the general idea was good and it did have a few twists and turns along the way. There were some parts to the film that I didn't see coming but there was also plenty that I did see coming and a few 'he's going to be a baddy' and it turns out they were! Guy Pearce was probably right for the part and possibly Nicholas Cage should have been played by someone like Mark Wahlberg.
Also, to say it's described as a thriller suspense, it wasn't very edge of your seat sort of suspense. Wish I could get this even 3 stars but it has to be 2.