8:00 PM, 5th June, 2010
Law Abiding Citizen has a pretty twisting plot, so I’m not going to give you much of it. In short, Clyde Shelton (Butler) is witness to the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter. He’s an angry man who is unhappy with the way the law treats the case and the resulting sentences of the guilty parties. Fast forward 10 years and deaths begin to occur among those involved. Assistant District Attorney Nick Rice (Foxx) is sure it’s Clyde’s doing, but he has an iron-clad alibi – a REALLY iron-clad alibi. Thus begins the battle to uncover the truth before too many lose their lives.
Gray previously directed The Negotiator, a film which also boasted a talented cast and somewhat similar themes of ‘justice vs the every man’. I was hoping for more of the same, but while this film carries a veneer of ‘slick, inventive, twisting thriller’, it has a core of ‘excuses for brutally violent ends ŕ la Saw or Final Destination’.
In the end Law Abiding Citizen is not as good as it should have been; perhaps not as good as it wanted to be. Its exploration of the grey area between the justice system and the ideal of ‘justice’ is quickly covered up by the red area that happens when a body explodes in a surprising and inventive manner. That’s not to say I didn’t have a lot of fun – because I did – just don’t go in expecting a captivating battle of the minds. Suspend your disbelief (in fact, send it interstate) early on and I expect you’ll enjoy the ride.
10:03 PM, 5th June, 2010
Can you believe that there is actually a place in the US called Cape Fear? Perhaps a little more thought could have been put into coming up with a place name that didn’t scream out to be the setting for a scary movie. Although Australia has places like the Devils Marbles and Dum Dum so I’m not sure what that says about us?!
So anyway ... the movie. Robert Mitchum plays Max Cady, a rapist released from jail with vengeance on his mind as well as a newfound knowledge of the law. Cady then uses that knowledge to torment Sam Bowden (Peck) and his family, the man who sent him to prison all those years ago, but always within the letter of the law.
Max Cady is one of the cinema’s great villains with a sharp but warped intelligence that is disturbing to behold. Mitchum delivers a standout performance, a stark contrast to Peck’s Bowden. Cape Fear is a taut, absorbing thriller, with a fantastic score from Bernard Hermann.
If you haven’t seen this film before, then there is no better way to experience it than on the big screen at Film Group. And if, like me, you have seen it before, but maybe it was some time ago, then it is definitely worth re-visiting as you will still find it as good as you remember.