Law Abiding Citizen

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler. Thriller. Written by Kurt Wimmer, Frank Darabont, Sheldon Turner, David Ayer. Directed by F. Gary Gray.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Gerard Butler plays Clyde Shelton, an upstanding citizen who has his world turned upside down when his wife and daughter are murdered during a home invasion. When a hotshot lawyer, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), gets leniency for one of the perpetrators, our hero is further devastated. Ten years later, when the criminal is released, Shelton admits to killing this man. And if the lenient laws are not fixed by Rice, key players in that trial will also die. Mr. butlerís character has gone, well, a little funny in the head (if I may borrow a phrase from Dr. Strangelove. Heís an all-out sociopath who can somehow bring off spectacularly and diabolical assassinations even though heís in prison.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I was hoping, considering the star power, for a though-provoking piece concerning vengeance. In the beginning, the filmmakers may have had this in mind. At some point the decision was made to go full bore action adventure, leaving the viewer with a scenario that gets sillier as the plot thickens. So we are left with a film that takes its lead from both the Death Wish series and the Saw films. Itís more gruesome than provocative. At least Death Wish satisfied some sort of need for the balancing of justice in society. And the first Saw film was creative. Here the premise is just ludicrous and the revenge best suited for those who enjoy torture porn. (Thereís a scary thought.)

Let me offer up these two films as alternatives. They both deal with people wanting revenge, only to discover the negative affect that vengeance has on soul. First, thereís John Fordís The Searchers. Considered by many critics to be one of the finest films ever, it tells the story of Ethan Edwards played by John Wayne returning home several years after the Civil War. Soon his brother's family is murdered by a Comanche raiding party who kidnap his young niece. In this reviewer's opinion, this is John Ford's most complex western and certainly the most visually majestic. A powerful look at the emptiness of hatred and bigotry. The perfect western. Itís a perfect movie.

My second recommendation is new to DVD. As We Forgive is a powerful documentary about reconciliation between survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. An estimated one million Rwandans were killed and nearly a million widows and orphans were left in the genocideís wake. Due to overpopulation in their prisons, over 50,000 imprisoned genocide inmates have been released in recent years, moving back into communities and villages where they had committed their crimes.† Narrated by Mia Farrow, the documentary focuses in on one particular woman who faces the man who killed her husband. Unrated, it is not for children. Descriptions of murders, shots of dead bodies and the skulls of slaughtered people are shown. But nothing is done to be exploitive, but rather to visualize manís cruelty and the astonishing ability to forgive, once the heart is open to spiritual healing.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Overture Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: The film is loaded with hostile and offensive language with somewhere around 50 uses of the f-word alone.

Profanity: Seven or more misuses of Christís name.

Violence: I donít want to be graphic with the violence description; suffice it to say, there are several graphic and detailed acts of sadism, including a man being given a hypodermic filled with a serum that causes him to experience the pain in a heightened way; a woman is raped; several other sadistic deaths; a man has his arms and legs amputated, then his head is seen severed from the body Ė do I need to go on? Blood: Yes, there is blood, lots of blood.

Sex: A few crude sexual remarks; we see bare bottoms on several occasions; we see the act of brutal rape; a discussion of sex in prison between men and a couple of crude and hateful sexual remarks.

Nudity: We see a womanís bared bottom and a manís.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drug references.

Other: None

Running Time: 122 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Above

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