Movie Review: Seeking Justice

(UK Title: Justice)

As Hollywood bees go, Nicholas Cage must be one of the busiest. This year alone he's had four films released, with Justice being the last of them. But as far as Cage is concerned, as anyone who has seen any number of his films can surely testify to, quantity does not equate to quality.

This year alone certainly couldn't be described as being a vintage one for Cage. Season of the Witch, Drive Angry and Trespass have all been decidedly average (if not even lower) affairs. And with Justice he proves that if nothing else, at least he's consistent.

As anyone who keeps an eye on current affairs, or/and watches HBO's Treme will know, the city of New Orleans has had its fair share of woes. Crime certainly seems to have made a home there, as teacher Will Gerard (Cage) can bear witness to. His wife Laura (January Jones) is brutally attacked and raped, with her assailant escaping.

Inside the hospital his wife's at, Will gets approached by a man called Simon (Guy Pearce). He tells Will something similar happened to him, and that he's part of an organisation that can help Will, if he wants it. To help him to make a decision, Simon informs him that he knows exactly who did this to his wife, and all he has to do is say the word, oh and buy two Forever bars from the vending machine, and he'll take care of it for him. And in return, all he will have to do is do a small favour for him, somewhere down the road. Feeling anger at the system letting his wife down, Will agrees.

Soon after Will learns that the man who raped his wife met with an unfortunate accident, and is now dead. Will feels that justice has been served.

Not longer after, Will finds himself being contacted by Simon, who in turn calls in the favour that Will agreed to. At first the tasks set for Will seem harmless enough, but before too long, he finds himself embroiled in events way out of his control and that the justice he was after comes at quite a price.

Out of all the projects that he agreed to be a part of for the run of films released this year, it's probably this one that's worth seeing above all the others. Although that's not really saying much.

Seasoned Australian director Roger Donaldson manages to keep the drama side of things pretty taut, considering the far-fetchedness of the plot. There's an ethereal sense about the organisation behind the killings, that makes it just that little bit too unbelievable. It's implied that the group is a large network that manages to look after the cases that slip through the hands of the law. But other than Simon and his small entourage of henchmen, you don't really get a scale of the size of the operation. The back room team could all be run by Smurfs for anyone knows. But as it's a Nic Cage film, his fans especially are used to looking over such details.

As far as Cage himself is concerned, it's one of his more reserved performances; it's one of those rare times where he actually appears to go the 'less is more' route, and it pays off for him.

What's disappointing is poor old January Jones; she's saddled with yet another wifey role, where she does very little other than being quiet and looking pretty. To be fair, she gets to do more than she did as Liam Neeson's missus in Unknown, but still doesn't get to offer anything other than the standard beleaguered other half persona. She's shown being Don Draper's wife that she can do far more than just that, given half the chance.

Guy Pearce fairs better as the baddie. In fact it feels like he's auditioning for the part of Bond baddie, which if nothing else here, he shows that he would be perfect for.

What Cage should have worked out by now is that not even working with a fine line in talent can guarantee a film is going to be above average. Perhaps it's time that someone sat him down and suggest he works on fewer projects, opting to concentrate on the ones that could be considered more quality in material instead. This conversation needs to happen sooner rather than later, particularly when you consider that a completely unnecessary sequel to the truly poor Ghost Rider will be hitting our screens next year.

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