Law Abiding Citizen
When we had finished watching Law Abiding Citizen, we had just one question. What is it with Scottish actors and the American accent? Seriously, first up there was Ewan MacGregor, sounding like he was talking with a mouth full of nails in Deception. You’d have thought Hugh Jackman (who like most Australians has some pretty convincing Yank speak) would have taken him aside and given a few words of advice. Admittedly they were both probably avoiding eye contact in the hope that if they didn’t look at one another they might awake from the nightmare of starring in the worst erotic thriller since Ernest Goes to Jail. Then there’s James Macavoy. We get suspicious when an actor is more believable as a talking fawn than an American citizen, but that’s our conclusion after watching him sound like he was chewing on his own tongue in Wanted. Forget the bending bullets stuff mate, and try something a little simpler like not sounding like a Romanian fishmonger with three teeth, and half a tonsil who had somehow found himself lost in Chicago.
Are we still in Sparta?
But the undisputed heavy weight of accent atrocities has got to be Gerard – this is Sparta – Butler. A man whose American accent is so mind bogglingly bad, we’re pretty sure it was spawned from some covert and classified CIA tortured program. But Butler’s accent is not the worst thing in this nonsensical court room thriller/action flick (and neither is Jamie Foxx’s incredible hairline). Oh no, that honour goes to the plot, which is so ridiculous we’re having trouble making sense of it even now.
Revenge; a dish served stupidly.
The basic premise is that Nick Rice (Foxx) is a hotshot lawyer with his eyes firmly on advancement. Preferring to settle most of his cases with some kind of deal rather than risk loss at the hands of a jury seems to be working for him, until his path crosses with Clyde Shelton (Butler). In the opening scenes Shelton witnesses his wife and child being brutally murdered in the film’s opening scenes, yet Rice feels the case is not strong enough to win. Instead, he cuts deal that imprisons one of the criminals on a reduced sentence and sends the other to the electric chair. Shelton is obviously devastated and just like all devastated men do in Hollywood he spends the next 10 years plotting bloody revenge (seriously, wouldn’t it be easier to go to therapy or something?). After surrendering, a game of cat and mouse ensues between Nick Rice and Clyde Shelton – who has more murder on his mind and manages to achieve it. But how? Does he have help on the outside? Is he a ghost with the ability to metaphase through solid rock? Who knows? What we do know is that we just didn’t care and are pretty sure you won’t either.
Law Abiding Citizen has delusions of grandeur, aiming to analyze the fallacy of the American legal system yet just ends up confusing its self, then promptly ending. Poor script, poor acting, poor premise and a twist with about as much bend as a wooden ruler. In a memorable exchange, Clyde informs Nick “This is going to be Biblical…” Indeed Clyde, it was Biblical, a Biblical fail for all involved.