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Seeking Justice

Seeking Justice

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Mar 16, 2012
Grade:
D
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 45 Minutes
Seeking New Titles

Throughout production, Seeking Justice went through a number of different titles, including Justice, Seeking Out Justice and The Hungry Rabbit Jumps.

 Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is a man on the run. Cops, wealthy businessmen and everyday normal people are on the hunt to kill Will. But what did he do to get here? Let's back up: Will and his wife, Laura (the beautiful January Jones), had lived a fairly simple life until now. His teaching degree and her concert performances with her orchestra group have provided the last sense of normality they would feel. But when Laura gets raped and beaten by a criminal, everything spirals out of control. Police claim that due to the slim chances of this happening again, they wouldn't investigate further into the case and stop all searches for the attacker. Angered and confused, Will is confronted by Simon (Guy Pearce), a man shadowed by mystery. Simon explains that these things happen all the time. Theft, rape, even murder. Cops just let it go due to lack of evidence. But Simon and his organization work a little harder than that. Simon explains to Will that if Will would like, he would find the man who beat Laura and have him killed. All he would do in return is do Simon a favor whenever he needed it. Reluctantly, Will agrees and tells Simon to go through with it. With Laura's attacker no longer a problem, Will and Laura go back to their normal lives and try to move on. However, Simon hasn't forgotten about their agreement. It's not before long that Will realizes what he has gotten into: Something bigger than anyone could have imagined. 

Seeking Justice, the latest from Director Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, Species), is a less-than-perfect attempt at bringing back the Charles Bronson-esque action films. You know the kind, more drama than a usual action film, but enough deception to keep bullets flying. Past that, it's unclear what Donaldson really wanted out of this action thriller. Let's break it down:

Casting Nicolas Cage in an action movie after 1997 is something I never understood. Cage serviced just fine in Con Air, The Rock and even Face-Off. Past that, he became notorious for an actor willing to lose/gain credibility for his extreme acting abilitiies. Any director that hired him knew that going in. So what is there about Seeking Justice that calls for over exposure? What is so fascinating about Will Gerard that makes him a character that Cage would enjoy playing. Unfortunately for Cage, there is no fascination with Will. English teacher by day, Will is a man who enjoys Chess with his best friend, Jimmy (Harold Perrineau), and dancing with his wife. This is our simple "Everyday-man-pushed-to-the-edge" plotline. In fact, if anyone has any fascination in their character, it would be Guy Pearce's Simon. Guy Pearce has been known for some fantastic performances for incredibly memorable characters. Seeing his name attached to Seeking Justice was a reason to see the movie alone. Sadly, the promise of hope was not kept. Pearce delivers what is given to him: A figure who has always been a villain from when he stepped in the room. A man who, in his attempt to clean up the world, got too carried away. Playing him as a man who says at one point that he meant well, Pearce doesn't even seem to believe it himself. Simon can be filed under the category of one of Guy Pearce's worst roles. However, January Jones rose to the occasion and pulled off the broken and paranoid Laura with ease. Out of the entire cast, Jones is the stand out here, as she comes off betrayed by pretty much everyone she knows. If Cage had taken a note out of her book, we might have been looking at something else entirely. 

Acting aside, Seeking Justice still doesn't seem worth the time and energy put into it. That is to say that any energy at all was put into it. The camera-work is bland and at times can be visibly noticable as to which same-scene cameras were different than the others. It's minor distraction that, when noticed, could very well make or break a level of interest. In the case of Seeking Justice, it broke. The worst thing about the new Roger Donaldson film is that it had so much promise behind it. With Pearce, Donaldson, Jones and goofy Cage involved, the outcome could have been a decent little action thriller to spice up the box office first quarter. In hindsight, if Pearce and Cage switched roles, I could see Seeking Justice playing out a lot better. Pearce is very easy to root for, while Cage is...rather insane. But as is, the casting seems uneven and the film never seems to secure its' footing in plot. 

Even the twists and turns of Seeking Justice are simple to decode from the first clue given. The latter half of the film is Will trying to decipher what Simon's organization really is and how he became so entangled in it all. About 45 minutes in, it becomes extremely clear what is happening and you're ready for the conclusion. Donaldson has other plans and proceeds to take Will on a city-wide chase to piece every little thing together. Even when Will seems to find every piece of evidence possible, there are still questions unanswered and gaping holes in the conclusion. Thrillers are all about pace and the rate of revealing clues. Seeking Justice fails at both of these factors, causing the runtime to seem far more extended that its' actual 105 minute run. 

Nicolas Cage usually knows precisely when to ruin a moment with his hammy extremes in acting. For Seeking Justice, Cage didn't have to ruin any moments. The movie did that itself. Providing Pearce (You're welcome, future Lifetime Channel Movie) with one of his most bland films and Cage with a lackluster performance, Seeking Justice finds it's ultimate fate with poor editing, camera work and screenwriting. If you're looking for a smart thriller to keep you guessing, seek elsewhere. 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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