The justice system in the U.S. is one of the most controversial topics today. Many would be quick to say it is flawed and can be easily manipulated.
“Law Abiding Citizen” is a movie that deals with this topic head-on. The entire plot of the movie revolves around one man’s quest to prove that as long as one can hide all the facts, it becomes a simple matter of saying the right things to get out of a crime.
The film stars Gerard Butler as a family man turned mass-murderer named Clyde, and Jamie Foxx as Nick, the district attorney of Philadelphia. The movie begins with Clyde as the loving father and husband. This soon changes, as he witnesses his wife and daughter murdered right before his eyes.
When the two murderers are to taken to court, Nick strikes a plea bargain with one of the murderers: By testifying to the jury, he will only receive a murder conviction while the other will receive the death penalty. This is not good enough for Clyde, as he wishes to see both men suffer since he saw them commit the murder with his own eyes. Unfortunately, there is a lack of evidence, so the deal is the best option he has to take. Clyde then uses the next ten years to plot out his vengeance. This is where the movie truly begins, as Clyde’s first murders send him to prison, putting all his plans into motion.
Getting the audience to connect with a murderer seems like one of the hardest feats for any sane person to accomplish. Unfortunately, “Law Abiding Citizen” fails here. Butler does an amazing job with what he has to work with. He plays a truly menacing and downright scary villain. At times he seems like a sane version of “The Dark Knight(‘s)” Joker, always one step ahead of everyone else with his plans. His grisly methods of murder even resemble the gruesome traps Jigsaw uses in the “Saw” films. Unfortunately, he is hardly offered any character development before his family’s murder, and mostly just comes off as a homicidal psychopath.
Foxx does a great job with his character, making his portrayal of a family man in the legal system a truly three-dimensional character. He makes choices to benefit his own career, such as the deal that starts Clyde’s killing spree. However, he is not proud of the deals he has to make, as he makes it obvious early on he has no compassion for murderers. He also has a wife and daughter to take care of, which makes him understand the pain Clyde must be feeling at the start of the movie.
The movie quickly escalates once Clyde commits his first murder. Many scenes are predictable, as the audience knows when a murder is about to happen. The movie keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat, however, by consistently using new and unexpected methods to kill off characters. It sometimes becomes outrageous and hard to believe, but it always remains entertaining.
The whole movie keeps the viewer guessing as they try to figure out exactly how Clyde is performing all these acts from his prison cell. When the revelation finally comes, it is somewhat of a letdown with how ridiculous it is to believe. The climax of the film with Clyde and Nick’s final dialogue with each other gets even worse and somewhat cliché, but when one realizes how far-fetched the rest of the movie is, it fits in well.
The movie is not the best at what it does, but thanks to the murderous antics featured throughout, it still provides a fun time. Besides, the whole point of a movie is to entertain, and “Law Abiding Citizen” performs this task admirably.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ryan Brooks at Ryan.email@example.com.