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Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a family man with a wife and a little girl. It all changes one evening when he opens the door to two men who brutally try to kill him and do murder his wife and child. His attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) wants a conviction on Darby (Christian Stolte) and Ames (Josh Stewart) and theres a who ha about forensic evidence not being enough although Clyde was there and knows full well what happened and in the end Ames gets the death sentence when Darby testifies against him and Darby gets 5 years maximum sentence to be released. In fact Darby is the worst criminal if you life than Ames, having been the one with the knife and Ames simply being more of an accomplice thinking he was there to do a burglary and Clyde really isn't happy at the deal Nick makes with the Darby to secure a conviction though Nick really doesn't want the to walk free.
Roll on ten years and Nick is still practicing as an attorney. Ames is put to death via injection to which Nick goes to watch and Darby is out back to his disgusting self and antics.
However Clyde is still seething about the fact Darby is out of prison and of course he is still living a sentence without his family and to say he is bitter is an understatement!
Suddenly things start to go wrong. Ames lethal injection is tampered with and instead of getting a quiet and uneventful death he is subjected to great pain and terror in his final minutes of life. Darby is butchered to death on Clydes property and people to do with the case are dying in horrific ways.
Cue lots of blood special effects and Clyde being put in prison. He is guilty of course and happy for people to know this and doesn't mind admitting his guilt but is he simply taking the Mick and simply a schizophrenic murderer or is he trying to make a point about the flawed justice system in America?
Course we have his attorney wrestling with his feelings on what Clyde is doing, I mean he's only going after people he deems corrupt or to do with his case and he becomes rather obsessed by it neglecting his wife and child somewhat but is he right to be? Are him and/or his family in danger also and the biggest question is how do you stop someone killing when they are locked up already and intent and really rather clever. He's had 10 years after-all to organise everything in the smallest detail!
At points I was really interested in this film and then in others it simply plodded along which was a shame as the storyline and point was a good one. It was rather bloody, made me jump out of my skin a total of twice (along with my mate) and did keep us entertained mostly and wanting to know the ending.
Gerard Butler was dark, brooding and rather menacing and his character got a great balance of humour and sorrow but for me the saviour acting wise of this film was the superb Jamie Foxx who delivered some class lines and quick comebacks and to me was unfaltering in his performance and I can't now wait to see more films he is in.
The film asks questions, gives answers and makes you ask yourself...how far would you go to hurt someone who hurt someone you love and is the law an ass that needs teaching a lesson!
The film lasts 109 minutes which to me an my bum was a good length of time not being too long and is classified as an 18 which again in my opinion is a correct guidance rating due to the violence within it!
There are very few actors who can pull off the genre cross from Action Hero to Romantic comedy leading man, but one actor who does it well on a regular basis is Gerard Butler. He seems to be equally at home facing down the Persian army in the 300 as he does giving out love advice in films like The Bounty Hunter and Ugly Truth. It's for that reason that he's become a bit of a favourite in our house, I love his action movies, whilst he makes Jen's favourite Rom Com genre more bearable. It would be fair to say however that Law Abiding Citizen was certainly more one of my viewing choices than Jen's.
Obeying The Law
When the killer of his wife and child is allowed to walk free due to a plea bargain, Clyde vows to get his revenge on the man responsible. He takes his time to plan his assault on the killer and 10 years after the tragedy he takes his revenge. Only he doesn't just stop at the killer he also goes after anyone who was involved in letting the men responsible get away with it. After such a prolonged period of planning his revenge is swift and threatens to bring down the entire Cities legal system. He uses his desire for vengeance to motivate him but will anyone be left alive when Clyde finally stops his personal vendetta.
A Superb Return For Gary Gray
Ever since I first saw the Samuel L Jackson starring, F Gary Gray directed Negotiator in the late 90's I've looked out for his movies. He is a director with vision who can bring films to live and even his work on the remake of the Italian Job wasn't all bad. He sticks to the talents he displayed best in the Negotiator with this movie however as he combines great explosions with tense and enthralling sequences. He uses the story to personalise the characters and even though Clyde is clearly doing wrong, you as the viewer, get an insight and form an understanding that perhaps clouds your judgement towards his actions.
In fact this is exactly what he's good at, taking a good character, turning him bad but yet still making him seem quite likeable. The development of the script is done well and he doesn't just rely on explosions to move the story along, although a few key ones do play a part. His collaboration with Salt writer Kurt Wimmer works really well and creates a very intricate plot that reflects well on the big screen. The plot has a decent pace to it and with great characterisation and a very intriguing storyline the combination of Wimmer's writing and F Gary Gray's direction work really well together.
In casting Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in the two lead roles, I felt the director and his casting team really got this call right. As the Assistant District Attorney, Jamie Foxx is the perfect choice. He has a real personal appeal to him, however he also manages to portray just enough of a cocky persona to make you wonder at times if he really is the good guy we're being lead to belief he is. I felt that Foxx really managed to get the right blend of arrogance and personal feeling to make him perfect in this leading role.
On the opposite side of the casting list Gerard Butler is outstanding as Clyde. He begins the film with the tragedy of losing his family and really brings forth a performance that reflects the kind of feelings you would imagine you'd feel in that circumstance. It's the personal appeal of the characters actions that make it hard to determine whether to like Clyde or not, but Butler manages to portray him just right. You can sympathise with his actions, even if you don't condone them. The rest of the cast, which includes Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill and Leslie Bibb are all side parts in the cat and mouse game between Foxx and Butler and play there parts well, acting as a good foil for the two leads.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when we sat down to watch this film. I like Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx and director Gary Gray, but I wasn't sure if this would really appeal to me. In the end though it really did exceed my expectations. The subject matter is quite dark and at times the movie is quite gruesome, but the story really works and the way the characters are brought to live makes it a really engaging movie. It is a film I wouldn't hesitate to recommend, however I would caveat my recommendation by saying this is a complex movie and could be quite upsetting , so be sure you're in the right frame of mind to watch it.
I rented this film being a touch sceptible of what it would be like. I was
Pleasantly surprised. Gerard Butler did an awsome job of portraying a broken father who's family was murdered by two burgulars. At first you think he is just a normal guy but then you realise he has a unique set of skills.The film takes an exciting path as he seeks revenge not only on the murderers but on the "in just" justice system who failed to give out the correct punishment. Overall I would say this is a film not to be missed. It provides non stop excitement which keeps you hooked on the storyline. The thing I liked most about this film was how clever it was. In most films it is easy to see what is coming next but this kept you on your toes.I would recommend it to anyone. A must watch
Having been highly recommended Law Abiding Citizen by a friend I thought I'd give it a go and was very pleasantly surprised. It is a fast action thriller which really keeps you on your toes from start to finish, always wondering what's going to happen next.
For me, the films excels due to the excellent performance of Gerard Butler, around whom the storyline evolves. Playing the role of Clyde Shelton, he is left frustrated and devastated when his family are killed and after a plea bargain sets one of the killers free, he decides to take matters into his own hands and all those involved come under threat.
Shelton takes his time to set out upon his plan of action against those who did him wrong in what is at points a bitterly twisted storyline. He doesn't want revenge but is intent on justice being restored in a world where words seem to be stronger than actions.
The methods with which Shelton goes about his plan is genius to the smallest degree and those involved in the case have no idea who there have messed with until things begin to unfold and it's almost too late.
This was a hugely enjoyable film that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Butler is excellent in his role as is Jamie Foxx playing the attorney for the case in question. I found it very difficult to find anything wrong with Law Abiding Citizen and only if I was being very picky was say that parts of the plot are a little bit unrealistic but there aren't too many realistic crime thrillers!!
The hardest part of the film is deciding whether to love or hate the character played by Butler. In some ways you have to sympathise with everything he is gone to but the extremes of his revenge are perhaps just as bad. However, you will have to make your own mind up for the want not to give to much away.
Certainly a film I'd highly recommend
Star - Gerard Butler
Running -108 minutes
Certificate - 18
Genre - Action/Thriller
Clyde Shelton: You're the one who makes deals with murders yea? Well I've come to make mine. Release me.
Nick Rice: [smugly] Or what?
Clyde Shelton: Or I kill everyone.
Some movies start well and quickly become dumb. Not because the script writer(s) ran out of ideas or couldn't think of a way to finish their movies or anything, but because the studios like it that way, a hunky hero turned villain and a heroic cop chasing him down a solid mechanism to draw the biggest multiplex audience. Law Abiding Citizen ticks every box of that formulaic action thriller portfolio. Gerard Butler (real name David Davies) is the big gruff lug in question for the girls to swoon over, and the boys to wish they were, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx getting to relax a bit and play the two dimensional good guy for big busks and so not worrying about learning his lines for once.
Knowing this was the above Tom & Jerry popcorn movie I'm certainly not complaining about its content, a 'turn you brain off pick' I rented for exactly that reason, adding variety to my 5 films for £5 weekly deal at Blockbusters, the time of the movie year when you have rented all the 2010 films you wanted to see and so picking off the ones on the reduced shelf 6 months later that you didn't quite want to pay full price for, Eagle Eye the film I rented this time last year in the same offer an example of. If you have seen that and enjoyed it for its needless car chases and silly plot then you will enjoy this. Its one of those movies the critics hate because it's silly but the audience love because they don't have to think to hard about it and so want it to be what it is. The girls get a handsome hunk and the boys get explosions.
Jamie Foxx ... Nick Rice
Gerard Butler ... Clyde Alexander Shelton
Colm Meaney ... Detective Dunnigan
Bruce McGill ... Jonas Cantrell
Leslie Bibb ... Sarah Lowell
Michael Irby ... Detective Garza
Gregory Itzin ... Warden Iger
Regina Hall ... Kelly Rice
Emerald-Angel Young ... Denise Rice
Industrial inventor Clyde Alexander (Gerard Butler) has just lost his wife (Regina Hall) and kid (Anita Nicholls) following a brutal robbery/rape/murder in his Philadelphia home, Assistant District Attorney Rice (Jamie Foxx) handling the case. But a plea-bargain sees one of the bad guys, Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte), blame his accomplice Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart) for the actual killing to get a reduced sentence of third degree murder, and so the wrong guy goes to the chair, Alexander not happy and feeling like the justice system and Rice have sold him out in pursuit of higher murder clear up rates for the city, and Rice's eventual promotion to District Attorney.
Ten years on and Clyde is a completely different man (even though he and Foxx look exactly the same age to me) and ready for his revenge, taking out both killers with exaggerated macabre genius and appropriate pain, and then confessing to the killings and so going to jail. But he isn't going to stop there, the mission now to humiliate the chain of command in the justice system that failed to prosecute the killers fairly, starting with the judge, where the film begins to get silly because he manages to kill her when he is behind bars. As the body count rises Rice knows he has to give into Clyde's calculated prison demands if he is to contain the situation and keep his career plans, his team are probably the next target, Clyde, clearly no ordinary inventor and growing more confident with every orchestrated kill from his prison cell. But the question for Rice is what exactly does he want to stop the slaughter?
The title of the movie suggested another one of those vigilante films that always seem to work, usually taken by actors on their way down and so looking to win back a sympathetic fan base. It worked particularly well for Liam Neeson in 'Taken' and Jodie Foster in 'The Brave One', up to a point for Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness. Sometimes it doesn't work, Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence, a really poorly cast stinker. But Law Abiding Citizen suddenly veers away from that genre and tries to be something too clever for its own good, and the script, its serious flaw. If it was handled more smartly it could have been a real winner. But it wasn't and so you have to accept you got the film you wanted and the clue you needed was the casting of Butler, yet to make anything of any substance, eye candy in ever movie. The girls, of course, would cross oceans just to see him read the phone book, their chins tucked firmly in their cupped hands he's that cute. Playing a leading man rom-com role in any celebrated 'chic lit' book-to-film like Cecilia Aherns - 'P.S. I love You' is sure to firm up your core female renting demographic. Remember guys, if your misses surprises you with a request to see an action movie on DVD or the cinema it's not because they like action movies, trust me. These are the type of movies the other half will let you screech the tyres on the bends on the way home from the cinema, if just to see a smidgeon of him in you. The little we boys know about girls...the little we know...
I definitely enjoyed it up to a point but as it progresses it gets sillier and sillier, each murder even more preposterous than the last, the final twenty minutes having you throwing you discarded Pringle tubes at the TV in derision! The dialogue is as clunky as Clyde's chains on the prison floor and worse still; the script is delivered in a way that the director F Gary Gray thinks that is not the case. Its impressive 7.2 rating on the IMDB suggested better, but on close inspection of those marks (press the hyper link and it reveals what demographic liked the film most, a useful tip) its the younger viewer that rated this higher, my age group giving it the lowest rating, which I concur. The older you get the more cynical you get. It seriously needed some token totty for the boys.
It cost $57 million to make and so somebody got paid well and had some $126 million worldwide to date and so someone else got paid well too. But what it didn't do is offer anything new and so you quickly chisel off the fourth dooyoo star by half-hour in, although I suspect the dooyoo girls (and Plipplop!) sticking it back on just to drawl over Butler...
Rolling Stone Magazine "Jeez, did the "surprise" climax have to be this eye-rollingly stupid?"
The Hollywood Reporter - The script does create sufficient tension and intrigue early on to hook viewers along with a photogenic, hardworking cast.
The Sun - "Deep within Law Abiding Citizen lurks a thought-provoking movie. But most of what we see on the screen is implausible, superficial and only marginally involving
Empire - "Relentlessly ugly, preposterous and hackneyed of dialogue: guilty on all counts. It will do well, then"
Imdb.com - 7.2 out of 10 (52, 546 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 25% approval rating (77% user score)
Metacritic.com - 35% critic approval rating (64% user score)
Special Features -
*The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen*
Self explanatory behind the scenes waffle by cast & crew
*Law in Black & White*
*Preliminary Arguments - visual effects*
Do we really need to know how they blew the car up?
*The Verdict - The winning trail*
Well and truly into contracted DVD filler territory now.
Law Abiding Citizen
I watch this movie for the third time on Netflix this morning. I don't know why but this movie is very enjoyable to watch in a brutal way. No this movie is not for the timid or really for young children. There is a charismatic point where the love of your family makes you draw the line of right and wrong. The opening 5 minutes of the movie are the most critical and the plot unfolds when robbers make forced entry into the loving home of Clyde Sheltons (Gerad Butler) home. This scene alone deserves a PG 13 and above rating, where murder, rape and violence take hold of your breath. I felt as if I was in that room and right there watching both parents being stabbed and what mortified how they treated his wife. But it's really what happens in our modern day lives.
The plea bargaining:
When Jonas Cantrell (Bruce Mcgill) questions the decision of his young attorney Nick Rick (Jamie Foxx) to accept the plea bargain of the murderer that makes a special pin point making his partner to take full blame for this tragic ordeal. Clyde Shelton sees exactly who side Nick Price is really on, his own side to remain a winning lawyer and no matter that Clyde lost his wife and daughter in this double homicide Price was going to come out smelling like a rose.
Where intelligence out weighs ego's
For the 109 minutes of this movie there is not one minute that you should turn or run and get a soda because you will miss something very poignant of the basic fact what Chester Shelton does. The keywords is systematically articulated revenge for the loss of his family. I don't want to give away everything, but the ingenious way he gets revenge on the murderers I applauded too, both gruesome and by the way they should have been taken out. But this isn't enough for Shelton, he wants them all gone, everyone who had any interest in this case.
One by one they drop:
As he is in jail, making fluent promises to Price, Shelton slowly picks apart the casting members of the trail, lawyers and counterparts. Price and Cantrell thinks there is an accomplice, for all this to happen and Shelton being in solitary confinement there has to be friends helping him. Then the secrets about Shelton's life get exposed. The best counter-action Shelton takes is on the judge, it is spectacular, but gruesome.
For the whole 109 minutes of this movie the city of Philadelphia is in a uproar and has the city in shock. I can't give the last 30 minutes of the movie or it would take away from this suspense. But I can say there is not a scene you can miss, it makes you sit on the edge of your seat and saying what's next. How can he improve on his tactics. Gerad Butler help to produce this movie that F. Gary Gray directed.
With a amazing cast of Law Abiding Citizen and a very suspenseful movie with precise moves and tactical situations, this movie is for the collector of DVD's. Like I said, this is the third time I've watched it on Netflix and there is not one scene that can be missed, so pause it if you need to get something. I felt like I was in every scene of this movie. It draws you in and you are paralyzed in your seat.
Thanks for reading !!
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
After witnessing his family brutally murdered, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) presses for justice to be done, however, when the men responsible get the most lenient sentences available it would seem that the memory of Clyde's wife and young daughter will always be surrounded with this tragic miscarriage of justice. Clyde is understandably distraught with the court result and vows his revenge - 10 years later he strikes...
Simple things occupy simple minds it would seem and this film tells us no different. Revenge thrillers have always been big money makers in movie terms and this film continues that trend. From the good (Kill Bill), to the, not so good (Death Sentence) audiences eat these movies up like there's no tomorrow. Everyone loves a good revenge thriller right? There's something sinisterly satisfying watching the bad guys get their just desserts. However, Law Abiding Citizen doesn't quite follow that omen.
The movie tries to go down a different, more astute route than the usual 'you ruined my life, you're going to pay' chestnut. Law Abiding Citizen is one of those films that tries to make you think and dig a little deeper than you initially thought you'd have to. The film makes desperate attempts at being cleverer than it actually is, when it comes down to it, this is a revenge thriller - end of. The bad guys die and everyone's happy, right? Well, not really, and this is where the film falters massively. The moral element just does not work with this film.
I'll try not to reveal which route the film actually goes down, but it's hard when there are similarities to numerous other films all thrown together to create a concoction of stereotypes filled to the brim with good and bad aspects from different movies in an attempt to create a new and interesting concept. Unfortunately, it doesn't work and no matter how many little tweaks there have been to this story, when it comes down to it, it's been done before and ultimately, it's been done better.
When I say that the film tries to be a little bit clever, it's actually too clever for its own good and ends up so incoherent that it's hard to know who to route for. In the beginning of course we're introduced to our hero Cylde who's played competently by Gerard Butler. The audience is immediately on his side and that's where we stay for the first 30 minutes or so of the film. The first bump off, despite the brutality still keeps the audience on side because it was the bad guy getting what he deserved. This happens within the first 20 minutes of the film, meaning that ultimately this film plays out backwards and leaves you wondering how the remaining 90 minutes is going to unfold. Infact after the tense opening 30 minutes, the film goes downhill. Everything that needed to be resolved already has been and from then on the story really has no point to it whatsoever. The remaining 90 minutes seem to have been quickly decided upon as a way to make this into as violent a film as possible in order to rake in the money and have the young men bowing down in admiration.
Gratuitous violence plays a big part in this film, as, of course, it does in any revenge thriller, however, violence for violence sake is what really pushes this film along and it doesn't come as a spoiler to say that there's more than a hint of 'Saw' in there. Any empathy that we initially had for Cylde doesn't remain for long when he appears to have lost his marbles and doesn't care who lives or dies. This takes the resonance out of this film as for a revenge thriller to work you have to be able to connect with the victim. In Kill Bill we were behind 'The Bride' every step of the way and in Death Sentence, although it's not the best revenge flick, it does stick to the standard rules of the genre. Law Abiding Citizen just doesn't know where to peg itself, therefore completely changes direction part way into this film making it hard to even call this film a revenge thriller.
The fact that this film falls so far off the rails makes it difficult for the audience to know how to feel. After his initial revenge, Cylde quickly switches from a devastated Husband and Father to a psychopath who has no respect for human life. The character of Nick, played by Jamie Foxx is the counterpart to Butler's character, who you'd expect the audience to resonate with more, given that any empathy for Cylde disappears quickly. However, we aren't given much to go on with Nick's character either. He's a lawyer who is so keen to keep up his conviction rate in court that he makes deals with murderers and this is how the miscarriage of justice happens. Nick is a family man but has neglected his family due to his work. He is, however, the more relatable of the two. At first he sympathises with Cylde and even gives him a 'bravo' upon suspecting that he murdered the man who killed his family. Nevertheless, as time goes on a cat and mouse game ensues with Cylde sending Nick all over the city in an attempt to save lives. Everything that Cylde does throughout the film has a motive behind it but after a certain incident it becomes hard to fathom his motives and Cylde becomes nothing more than a cold hearted killer.
The similarities to other films really begin to grate early on in this film and after the initial excitement it all goes downhill and is, in all honesty, a bit of a mess. The ending is the biggest letdown in the film as you're expecting lots of twists and turns, only for things to be summed up with a bomb and a cello...have fun working that one out!
A no brainer.
Recommended, but rent, don't buy.
After desperately wanting to see Law Abiding Citizen for months but never getting round to it, I finally managed to watch it last night. I had previously heard mixed reports about this film, and it not being what people had expected, and whilst I would agree that it definitely wasn't what I expected, it was still a thoroughly good watch, which had me gripped from start to finish.
The film starts out with Clyde Shelton (played by Gerard Butler) playing happy families with his wife and daughter, when a knock on the door changes his life forever. He is tied up and watches his wife and daughter brutally murdered before him. Although it would have ended the film right there, I am not sure why Clyde was not killed as well, but it wasn't to be, and we watch as Clyde's world crumbles before him as his lawyer tells him they must make a plea bargain with one of the men in order to send the other to death row. Clyde watches as DA Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) makes the deal, which will see one man killed on death row, but the other out of jail within 2 or 3 years. What makes it worse for Clyde is when Nick faces the journalists outside the court and shakes hands with the man he made the deal with as he is led to the waiting prison van. This scene was really moving in a way, as you can see how much this hurts Clyde.
The film moves on to ten years later, Nick is still the DA now with a family of his own, and one of the men is about to face the death penalty. Things don't go as planned and the DA and several other observers, witness the man die in extremely agonising circumstances - something which is not meant to happen. A murder case is launched immediately and it doesn't take the DA and the police long to figure out who was behind the murder. Unfortunately for them, nobody realises who they are dealing with, and one by one, anybody who was connected to the original case is murdered in brutal circumstances.
The film was very clever, and it made quite a nice change to watch a film like this, where the main suspect admits whole heartedly everything they have done. The only problem is the deaths continue despite Clyde being locked up in a maximum security prison. Clyde is extremely clever, and at first I found his intellect and resources seemed to be very handy for the film, in a way that made it seem unbelievable, but a little over half way through, the resources he has at his disposal and his intelligence are explained.
The film is very gruesome, almost in a hostel way in some parts, with scenes of torture early on in the film. Expect a lot of blood and some very squeamish moments! The parts played by Foxx and Butler were excellent with both of them playing very believable characters throughout. Butler starts out as what he calls a law abiding citizen with morals, however it is questionable whether Foxx has the same ethics. I liked both characters despite Butlers character Shelton, playing a mass murderer, you still kinda liked him!
Rating: A definite 18
Runtime: 108 minutes
Release Date: 27 November 2009
Nominated for 3 awards including Outstanding Acting by Jamie Foxx
This is the shocking 2009 movie starring Jamie Foxx (Nick Rice) and Gerard Butler (Clyde Shelton) also a brilliant role played by Christian Stolte as Clarence Darby.
The story is pretty horrific really, when Clyde Shelton is attacked in his home and his wife and small daughter are murdered by two sick individuals he survives and hopes to see justice done when the killers are caught.
Things do not go as they should when the district attorny decides to take a plea bargain and one of the killers eventualy walks free.
The movie then jumps forward ten years and one of the killers is being executed for his part in the murders but the execution goes horribly wrong and the killer dies a very painful death.
The police realise someone has mixed the chemicals up to cause the most pain possible.
Without spoiling the movie I cannot tell you any more but can promise you this is a very disturbing movie with some blood curdling scenes.
I must admit I am not really a Gerard Butlar fan but must admit he plays this part in a convincing way.
Jamie Foxx is brilliant in this as he realises he has made a big mistake by accepting the plea bargain in the first place.
A real roller coaster ride of a movie with twists and turns that will keep you gripped right till the final minutes.
I would say this is a real must see movie if you are into Thrillers.
Law Abiding Citizen is a gritty and thrilling depiction of vengeance. Gerald Butler plays Clyde Shelton, a man whose world is eviscerated by two villans that enter his house one night, attacking him and murdering his wife and daughter right in front of him. When these two men stand trial, Shelton's lawyer cuts a deal without his permission, which sees the lesser malevolent criminal of the two getting the death penalty and the main murderer getting 10 years. 10 years on, still crippled with pain, hate and anguish, Shelton decides he is going to exact revenge on the criminals and the justice system which let him down in his desire for retribution. How far will he go to prove that the criminal justice system is flawed?
*Quality of acting*
Having enjoyed Butler's performance in romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth, I was keen to see how convincingly he could portray a serious vigilante. This film did not let him down. Upon experiencing the glorified violence of the Death Wish movies, I expected Law Abiding Citizen to wholly comprise of Butler ridding the world of dangerous criminals. However, we learn that his character Clyde is very intelligent, sharp and calculating which reflect the approach he uses to dispose of those that wronged him.
The only person that stands in the way of Clyde bringing the legal system onto it's knees is his former lawyer who let him down - Nick Rice, played by Jamie Foxx. Foxx plays a passionate, ruthless and shrewd lawyer that is keen on maintaining a high conviction rate and progressing up the ladder. Whilst Rice has a wife and daughter and you can see that personally he identifies with Clyde, professionally he is unable to admit fault in his previous decision to cut a deal and will not stop in his pursuit of bringing Clyde to justice. His performance is excellent - Foxx does an exceptional job of standing by the justice system, and not losing belief in the results the system brings, even though he is a family man and can understand the emotions of the man he is trying to stop. Butler, however, is justifiably the star of the film, using excellent acting talent to make you truly convinced he is justified in his vigilante disposition.
There are other very good performances, such as Leslie Bibb who plays Sarah, a young lawyer that supports Nick (Foxx), and aspires to be just like him, both in passion and success. Whilst initially she follows her heart in her loyalty to the justice system, as the campaign of vengeance unfolds, she begins to lose faith in the ideals she supported. As does Jonas who mentored Nick, showing that Clyde's disgust and lack of faith in the legal system is so strongly conveyed, that even the pillars of the system begin to doubt it's efficacy.
I am not the greatest fan of violent films, normally sticking to light hearted or comedic films, however the barrel-load of action and violence is very engaging rather than off-putting. The action in Law Abiding Citizen hits you like an explosion, it gets going very quickly and violence is evident straight away. The first sequence is quite uncomfortable to watch, but allows you to get into the skin of Clyde and empathise with his grief and subsequent motivation to obtain revenge. As a result, I enjoyed watching this film. The violence seems justified from Clyde, to compensate for the mindlessness of this murder of his family. You find yourself supporting Clyde in his vicious campaign. However, it comes to a point where you begin to question if he is going beyond the realms of revenge. He is very clever and demonstrates the ability to outwit the hierarchy of the legal system at their own game.
Holistically, this film is superb. However, what I found let it down was the conclusion. 95% of the film is smart and violent action, and it concludes lacking the intelligence and explosiveness of the build-up content. I was also somewhat disatisfied by what happened at the end, however this is my personal thought, and many others may not share this. Overall, it does not take too much away from what is a truly magnificent film.
What can I say? This film is a masterpiece. The acting is high quality, the action sequences are cleverly conducted, and the predominant content of the film is unpredictable, dramatic, and explosive, thus keeping the audience gripped.
I would recommend anyone to watch Law Abiding Citizen. It is a very smart film, which has you on the edge of your seat, not knowing what will happen next. There are a few moments that will truly shock you, which adds to the film being brilliant. I would buy this and watch it again and again.
Law Abiding Citizen is certified for 18 years and over, is 1hr 48mins long, and is available for the price of £11.99 at Play.com
Jamie Foxx ... Nick Rice
Gerard Butler ... Clyde Shelton
Colm Meaney ... Detective Dunnigan
Bruce McGill ... Jonas Cantrell
Leslie Bibb ... Sarah Lowell
Michael Irby ... Detective Garza
Gregory Itzin ... Warden Iger
Thank you for reading!
Clyde Shelton is a man out for revenge. His wife and daughter were killed when 2 armed robbers burst into their house, and he managed to escape alive. However, his attorney Nick Rice puts in a deal so that one of the killers goes free in exchange for information on his cohort, but Clyde isn't satisfied with that. Years later, he has had enough and decides that revenge is a dish best served cold, and begins his masterplan. Trouble is, even when Rice catches Clyde and throws him in prison, the attacks continue. Can Rice figure out how Clyde is managing it from behind bars before Clyde kills every last person ever involved in the case.
This was a film I've been looking forward after my parents raved about it to me, so I stuck it on my Lovefilm list. I'm not overly into violent films, and they did say there was a fair bit of violence but that it wasn't too bad so I decided to watch it anyway. I am a fan of Gerard Butler as well so this film seemed like a good one for me. I must admit after the first few minutes, I really wasn't too keen on watching anymore because it did seem a bit too violent and not my sort of thing, but I am so glad I persevered because it just got better and better!
It is a very clever film that keeps you guessing right up until the end. I just didn't know what was coming next, and I jumped out of my skin several times, which was great because certain things really did come out of nowhere! The tension was high throughout the film, and it does keep you on the edge of your seat. However, despite all this and a huge build up to the end of the film, I felt that the ending was a real letdown and didn't at all live up to the rest of the film in terms of surprise and cleverness. It seemed so disappointing that they didn't do more given how clever and unexpected the rest of the movie was.
The cast do a great job with the film. Gerard Butler is really good as the man out for revenge, Clyde. I wasn't sure how much of an action star he would be, but of course that isn't his role for the majority of the film, he's just sitting in prison. We do get a quick shot of Gerard in the buff (a tad unnecessary for the film but who's complaining?!) and you can see he has worked out for it without a doubt. He is fantastic for the first part, you can see the grief etched across his face very well, yet he changes tack so quickly for the next part of the film, it is very well acted. I really enjoyed his performance and he carried the tension and emotion of the film brilliantly.
I thought Jamie Foxx as lawyer Nick Rice was very good, but he wasn't exactly pushed in my opinion. He played Butler's opposite, always controlled and in charge, and therefore there wasn't too much to pressure an actor like Foxx. However, I thought he worked well with Butler and I did like his character. I very much enjoyed the performance of actress Leslie Bibb as one of Foxx' protege's Sarah. Her character is a minor one yet sticks out in my mind, so I think that's definitely due to Bibb's performance. She was good, believable but also realistic and I liked her very much. Gregory Itzen (famous from 24) was also good as the prison Warden Iger, a good performance from him too.
The thing that confused me a bit with this film was that I wasn't sure whether we were meant to be sympathetic towards Shelton as the film progressed. At first, we can obviously understand his want for revenge towards the killers of his wife and daughter, but as the film goes on, I found myself wondering when did it stop being revenge and start becoming something more, something that Shelton couldn't justify. Perhaps this is what the writer and director wanted, for us to question the morality of Shelton and his action compared to what happened to him, and I enjoyed this element of the film very much.
If you enjoy a clever film, then Law Abiding Citizen is worth a watch most definitely. Yes, there is violence, some of which I wasn't too keen on but it doesn't focus completely on that which made it better for me. It was very clever, it kept me guessing and as I said surprised me on more than one occasion too. I enjoyed the performances of all the cast and thought the director did a good job keeping up the tension too. It's such a shame that the ending lets down what is a really great film, and I just can't get my head around why they chose to end it the way that they did, such a shame! However, I'd still watch it again, and would certainly recommend it to anyone too.
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Written by Kurt Wimmer.
Running Time: 108 minutes
Jamie Foxx ... Nick Rice
Gerard Butler ... Clyde Shelton
Colm Meaney ... Detective Dunnigan
Bruce McGill ... Jonas Cantrell
Leslie Bibb ... Sarah Lowell
Christian Stolte ... Clarence Darby
Michael Irby ... Detective Garza
Gregory Itzin ... Warden Iger
Thank you for reading.
Gerard Butler seems to be very much the man of the moment when it comes to landing the big roles in Hollywood. He has had a run of films across a number of genres of late, and this is perhaps his best role, as he plays Clyde Shelton, a small time gizmo patenter who is served a gross injustice by the legal system and sets to exacting his revenge.
When his house is robbed by two petty crooks, his wife and daughter are murdered and he is gravely injured. When lead attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) makes a deal with one of the crooks to issue the death penalty to the other, the first, Darby, walks free. Incensed, Clyde decides to play a game of cat and mouse with all those responsible. He feels, as a law abiding citizen, that justice has not been served, and he needs to take the law into his own hands.
What follows is a highly gripping thriller, with quite violent scenes and tense moments where you're not sure what's going to happen. Clyde essentially wants to show them just how easy it is to manipulate the system to get it to do what you want, and even from behind bars he shows it can mean nothing. Butler is excellent as Clyde, a man wanting justice for his family's murders really coming through with the emotions. Foxx is also very good as the main man assigned to stop Clyde any which way possible. It's a tense film mainly because of the interaction between these two men. The scenes where it's just the two of them in a cell, or in controlled conditions, are gripping, and it's this combination that makes it work so well.
There is also strong support from recognisable cast members Colm Meaney, Leslie Bibb and Bruce McGill, among others, with all performances solid. The darkness of the film at times is the main contributor outside of the very good plot and acting, and the right ambience is achieved with clever direction. F. Gray Gray manages to control things from the chair very well, providing the right amount of pace and music to the film throughout. There are also moments where the special effects come into play on a big level, whether it's involving a death or something else gruesome. It's a case of not holding back, and at times you can see why this holds an 18 certificate. The subject matter is quite unnerving at times, but the graphic display as well as the suggested do make for powerful viewing.
I was very impressed with this film. Those I had spoken to about it had said it was very good, and well worth the watch, and they weren't wrong. I was very glad to have watched it, and it's the sort of film that holds your concentration all the way through. There's always something going on, with everything relevant. Nothing drags or loiters for too long, and you don't get bored, so another thumbs up for the director. The only negative criticism I do have is that, with all the build up, the ending of the film was rather abrupt. I expected a rather more lengthy and drawn out finale to come my way, but it does close off quite quickly. It's still effectively done, but felt a bit hurried compared to the rest of the film.
Other than that, however, it's very good, and a film I happily recommend without hesitation. Butler gives one of his best performances here, and while he can be a bit hit and miss, Jamie Foxx combines his own acting talents with those of Butler very well indeed. A good pairing, with good special effects and direction, and of course a great plot. Recommended.
Law Abiding Citizen is definatly well worth watching, it really is one of the best films I have watched in a long time, which will definatly keep you on the edge of your seat, and leaves you guessing throughout the film, even if you do only watch it to see Gerard Butler get his kit off!!!
Without giving to much away the storyline is.....
Gerard Butlers plays Clyde a man who's wife and daughter are murdered before his very eyes. Just like any law abiding citizen, Clyde leaves the fate of the murderers in the hands of the law, and puts his faith in the justice system, however the sentence is obviously not what he expected,
Clyde Shelton takes it upon himself to provide the killers with the sentence they deserved, by brutally murdering them both. However this is no ordinary revenge film....
Clyde is intent on destroying the justice system, exposing it's flaws and showing the world how justice is not served, and therefore allows himself to be arrested for the murder of the one killer (brilliant view of Gerard Butler naked...bit for the ladies!), however whilst incarcerated still manages to reak havoic, kill, blow up and generally murder members of the attorneys office and anyone else he feels is responsible.
It is therefore the responsibility of Jamie Foxx's character to stop Clyde, and work out exactly how he is managing to cause such chaos whilst behind bars.
It really is a keep you on the edge of your seat movie, and will have you constantly wondering how is he doing that? As many of the reviews state it probably is more of a lads film as it is quite gory in parts, however the story line itself is definatly worth watching, and as a female I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Law Abiding Citizen is a proper boys film. That's the best way to quickly sum it up. Girls wont appreciate it. At least, not most girls. Perhaps that's stereotyping, but this isn't meant to be a debate about the merits of "girly-girls" versus "tom-boys", rather its a review of a pretty bloody good film. Yes, I liked it.
My review already needs some clarification. When I say it's a boys film, I don't mean the sort of mindless rip-roaring blockbuster that you can enjoy with a few beers. Although if you watch the trailer, it might appear that it is exactly that sort of film. However, there is much more to this film than meets the eye.
The premise is simple. Gerard Butlers plays a man who's wife and daughter are murdered (and brutalised) before his very eyes. Understandably distraught, he places his faith in the justice system, which fails to bring the murderers to justice. As a result, he is left more than a little irritable. Now here is the important point. You might think "oh, this is just a revenge flick." No, it's not, it's much more than that.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butlers character) tracks down and (brutally) kills the two men who murdered his family. This is where the revenge flick would peak, but it is merely the beginning. Clyde Shelton is intent on destroying the broken justice system, exposing it's flaws and turning the whole thing on its head. It's the way that he goes about it that's most interesting. As he purposefully gets himself incarcerated, but somehow (much to the bemusement and frustration of the authorities) still manages to kill, blow up and generally murder various "innocent" members of the attorneys office and anyone else he feels is responsible. For part of the film, you are left wondering how he does what he is doing, apparently alone, in solitary confinement, like some sort of murderous Houdini.
This is one of those truly clever films, which has you routing for the bad guy, even though you know he is the bad guy, even though he started out being a good guy (or "law abiding citizen"). Yet you know it's all going to end horribly. I wont say how and ruin it for you, but let's face it, it's Hollywood, the bad guy always gets his comeuppance in the end.
Law Abiding Citizen is a roller coaster ride. With gruesome scenes as Clyde Shelton takes a saw and various other implements to his wife's murders limbs and other extremities. Heated court-room scenes as Clyde fights for justice and heart-pounding moments as Jamie Foxx races to save the day.
It's very clever and worth a watch.
I'm not angry. I'm disappointed.
Law-Abiding Citizen, a 2009 film directed by F. Gary Gray (the F stands for Gary ...) really should be an entertaining, if none too demanding thriller, but tries to do far too much and ends up settling for far too little. The premise is fairly promising; family-man Clyde (a suitably buff Gerard Butler) experiences a double horror as first his wife and child are killed, followed by the failure to put one of the murderers away after a botched investigation. What's more, the attorney charged with handling his case is reluctant to fight the injustice, more interested in securing a much watered-down conviction that preserves his victories-to-trials record.
Ten years later both murderers are disposed of and Clyde is behind bars. This should be an end to things, but that'd make rather a to-the-point film - rather, the wronged-and-incarcerated man launches an apparent campaign of retribution against the system and the individuals who let him down, perplexingly from the confines of his maximum-security prison cell. How could he, agonises attorney Nick (Jamie Foxx) possibly be doing it?
The hook's an intriguing one, although while the film periodically threatens to deliver on its promises, the resolution is disappointingly weak. However, there's a fine, high-stakes, high-tension thriller here, and in this sense the movie's at least partially a success.
The problem is, it tries to be much more than this, and succeeds in nothing more than confusing and muddling what starts off as a nice concept - as a rule, I love a good revenge-flick, and there are some great ones out there (Oldboy, Dead Man's Shoes), but the ill-judged and misdirected attempt at moralising in Law-Abiding Citizen fudges a reasonable film.
Presumably we're meant to feel for Clyde at the outset - and indeed, we do. When he begins to take retribution, however, the film seems to want us to question the morals of his actions, but there's much less ambiguity on show here than the makers appear to believe, and we end up siding with no-one, kind of hoping everyone will be a loser. It's not that there's no merit in this line of questioning - "how far would you go in the name of revenge?", that kind of thing - but if this is what the film's going for, it's misguided and messed-up, and merely overpowers the admirable aspects of the story.
For there are good bits here - Butler and Foxx are not overly stretched by the script, but they do their jobs well, and there are some wonderfully tense scenes and clever attempts at misdirection. The only problem with this is that the red herring ends up being a much better idea than the actual ending, which is a bit unsatisfying. Just when you think you've figured out how Clyde's doing it, and just when it seems everything's fitting into place, and just when you reckon you've seen a new significance in earlier scenes, the truth comes along and it's much more mundane and senseless than the resolution you've put together in your head.
This, then, is the main problem with the story. Law-Abiding Citizen comes tantalisingly close to being at least a good film, if not a great one, only to trip over its own trouser leg and face-plant itself into the mud with a ridiculous, anticlimactic ending that renders most of what's gone before redundant and largely irrelevant. It's like (*potentially obscure reference*) the bit in Pedro Almodovar's Abrazos Rotos when the protagonist's film is sabotaged and released in a horrible mess - you've got the foundations for a solid thriller to be topped off with a smart, comprehensible ending and suddenly, out of nowhere, comes a conclusion with more holes than a slice of emmental. It completely, and for no perceivable reason, changes the main characters' personalities, and junks what looked like a decent twist building in favour of a dumb series of clumsy, implausible blunderings. It's just stupid.
So then, some great ideas that come to not much. It's like a Dean Koontz book. In fairness, it's not a bad film, but wasted potential is somehow much more disgruntling than an all-out stinker. There's a hundred-odd minutes of goodish film here, after all - just do yourself a favour and leave before the final eight. The ending playing in your head is a much better one, trust me.
If you liked this ... you're easily pleased. Oldboy is better in the same way that an aromatic massage is preferable to being lightly gouged with fish hooks.