Seeking Justice Theatrical Review
By Eric English, Mar 15, 2012 09:26 AM EST
In the gritty underbelly of "post-Katrina" New Orleans, crime is rampant. There are those on both sides of the law, and some who subscribe to neither. The levees are repaired but the heart and soul of the city is lost. Would be vigilantes who seek to clean up the streets by whatever means necessary emerge from the shadows to recruit more of their kind. But who besides a desperate man would trade his law fullness for vengeance?
Enter Will Gerard (Nicholas Cage), a high school English teacher with a passion for the written word - and his wife Laura (January Jones). The opening sequence cements their relationship as one of love and passion as they celebrate their anniversary in a swank New Orleans hotel with friends.
Soon later, in sharp contrast to the love her and Will share, Laura, is returning home when she is unexpectedly assaulted and violently raped on the New Orleans streets. When Will comes to comfort her in the hospital she is battered and bruised beyond recognition and a changed woman. The police have no leads and Will is broken.
As he contemplates the meaningless of it all, a mysterious man emerges and identifies himself simply as Simon. Simon offers Will an intriguing proposition. He claims to know who raped his wife and, says he has the means to "take care him" in ways that the cops can't. For this justice, Simon only asks that Will be ready to do a favor for him. Reluctantly, Will agrees, and before he can even sign the discharge papers for his wifes hospital stay the rapist is dead.
Will's agreement quickly turns sour when he realizes he is now part of a secret crime syndicate hell bent on destroying the man he once was in return for the favor bestowed upon him. Making him choose between the life of his wife and becoming a man like one who raped her, the vigilantes world in one in which Will cannot mentally or physically operate. It becomes a story Will against the World , with both the law and the lawless seeking to do him in as he attempts to unravel the mystery of who truly amongst them is "seeking justice".
Nicholas Cage gives a decent performance as the conflicted Will. In true "Cage Film" spirit there are plenty of car chases and action sequences to temper the need to deliver any memorable dialog. You can see the for his wife portrayed by Cage and he works well in the role of reluctant assassin. He does, at times, seem to be simply going through the motions and bored as we've seen this type of roll for him before.
The overarching theme throughout the film, that justice can be sought without regard to the law, is a rehash of other, better films ("Training Day") any the many allusions to New Orleans "post Katrina" grittiness give the film a tired, lackluster feeling. The final scene, for example, takes place is a supposed abandoned shopping mall destroyed by Katrina. As if it were necessary to the plot (it isn't) the fact is shoehorned in and forced upon the viewer. The city of New Orleans has moved on from the disaster 7 years ago - so too should filmmakers.
"Seeking Justice" is an average film that will distract you for 2 hours but is not one you'll need to watch again and again. Solid performances by the actors can't make up for the somewhat mundane story of redemption in the face of insurmountable odds. In the end, justice is found and it's revealed that all are not as they seem. If you want any more than that out of your viewing experience you should seek a better film.
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