REVIEW: Law Abiding Citizen

5 04 2010

The gold standard for the cat-and-mouse thriller is “The Silence of the Lambs,” which won Best Picture back in 1991.  To be honest, it really isn’t fair to judge similar movies against it just because of how amazing that movie is.  But nevertheless, I still have to do it.

Law Abiding Citizen” actually has a little bit in common with “The Silence of the Lambs.”  Outside of the cages, we have our Clarice Starling counterpart Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), committed to justice so long as it doesn’t ruin his high conviction rate as a lawyer,  Inside, we have our Hannibal Lecter counterpart Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler), committed to justice in the form of revenge and payback against those who ruined his life.

Does “Law Abiding Citzen” measure up?  No, but there has yet to be a movie that has, so that shouldn’t be taken too harshly.

Overall, it’s a pretty good movie and it delivers some quality entertainment for an hour and 45 minutes.  I don’t know if I could go as far as to use a sensational adjective like spellbinding or gripping to describe it, but I managed to stay very engaged and curious about what would happen next.  This might not have been great to see in theaters, but it makes for a satisfying rental.  I’ll gladly stop and watch this on Starz when it comes on in a few months.

The main thing that didn’t thrill me about “Law Abiding Citizen” was that I felt very little friction between Foxx and Butler.  “The Silence of the Lambs” exploded off the screen because Foster and Hopkins played off each other so well.  I don’t take issue with Foxx’s contribution so much as Butler, who played his psychopathic killer quite similarly to the way he played the crude womanizer in “The Ugly Truth.”  He is a long way from delivering a performance so eerie that it could earn an Academy Award (like Hopkins), but in spite of his flaws, the movie doesn’t suffer too badly.  B /

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