In recent years, Nicolas Cage has become a rather polarizing figure. More often than not he is the target of jokes regarding overacting and the like. I was one of them not that long ago, but have changed my direction and now I have a growing affection for his peculiar brand of acting. No one does crazy quite like he does. Needless to say, I was actually looking forward to seeing Seeking Justice, hoping for some more crazy Cage antics. Unfortunately, he doesn’t go too far off the rails here, this time he leaves that to the movie.
Seeking Justice is a movie that seems to hope you are paying attention to Cage, hoping for his trademark overacting, and not paying terribly close attention to the details of the plot. The thing of it is, if you try to it together the pieces and the motivations the entire exercise falls apart and you will be left with a headache and many more questions than you had been expecting to have.
Nicolas Cage is Will Gerard, a mild mannered high school English teacher in a New Orleans public school. He is married to Laura (January Jones), a concert cellist. One night following practice, Laura is attacked and raped. While stewing in the waiting room, Will is approached by a well dressed individual named Simon (Guy Pearce). Simon comes with an offer.
Simon comes to Will with the knowledge that he knows who Laura’s attacker is and where he is. The deal is this: you say the word and the thug will be taken care of in exchange for a favor down the road, perhaps mailing a letter or breaking a security camera. Why not just turn him over to the police? Well, there is an undercurrent that New Orleans is falling apart and the law is unreliable. This also begs the question: how does Simon know all of this? Was there some sort of premeditation to manipulate Will into agreeing to this course of action? I’m sure you can rink of a few others.
Will signals his initially reluctant agreement by purchasing two candy bars from the oncology waiting room. Yes, you read that right. I am sure he could have just said do it, but this gives Cage the opportunity to play nervous as he closely eyes others lurking around the candy machine.
As you can probably guess, this is just the beginning. Before long, Simon shows up with a favor, and then another, and another. It culminates with a request to “kill” someone. This goes too far and Will refuses, thus making him a target. What follows are plenty of chases, running, and shooting, not to mention a couple double crosses along the way.
Seeking Justice is a movie built on a series of increasingly preposterous scenes. It seems that the only people not involved with Simon’s revenge game are the targets and that may be questionable. Also consider all the coincidences, there always seems to be a car or a person in just the right place at the right time, as of they already knew what was going to happen. Nothing about this movie happens organically, it is all programmed to happen a certain way with little regard for logic.
In the hands of a more creative team this movie could have tossed in a science fiction twist. I could see this having a reveal of psychic abilities, or perhaps a precog like in Minority Report. Something, anything to pull the coincidences together.
If you ignore the odd plot pieces, Seeking Justice could be seen as a fun little thriller. Cage is in more of a normal mode and is pretty good as Will and his opposite, Guy Pearce, is always solid and clearly enjoying himself here. As for January Jones, well, I am pretty sure she is a robot. She has been flat, emotionless, and dull in everything I have seen her in.
Audio/Video. The movie is presented in a ratio of 2.35:1 and generally looks good. Colors are solid and nicely saturated, there is no evidence of digital artifacts that I could see, and detail is solid. While the best I can say about the video is solid, it is a good looking disk, there is just nothing about it that particularly stands out. Perhaps if they made better use of the New Orleans location we would have had a little more to look at.
The audio is also good, it is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Dialogue is always clear and nicely centered. There is some surround activity that kicks in most during the freeway chase that has Cage dodging truck and creeping long medians. It does the job while not having the material to truly stand out.
Extras. The lone extra is a 7-minute behind the scenes featurette that features interviews with cast and crew including Nicolas Cage and director Roger Donaldson. They seem truly excited about the film and while they may have enjoyed making it, the end result is a little less than exciting.
Bottomline. Seeking Justice is no classic. As a matter of fact, it is pretty generic and makes poor use of some recognizable faces in the supporting cast. Still, I found myself watching it in spite of myself. It is all pretty ridiculous and nonsensical, but I actually sort of enjoyed it. Basically, if you are in the mood for a low rent thriller or a low end Nicolas Cage flick, this could fit the bill.
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