Law Abiding Citizen, a film by F. Gary Gray is caught in between the mediocrity and excellence of fiction. The film, which stars Gerard Butler as Clyde Shelton and Jamie Fox as Nick Rice, speaks about two people playing the game of justice. The movie is well-crafted. Script is polished and organized.
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At the beginning, for instance, is intended for audience to expect what comes next and who are the antagonist and the protagonist. Before that, two intruders breaks out into Clyde’s house. One of them stabs him and as he witnesses the killing of his wife and daughter. But as the film rolls the unpredictable scenes stun the viewers.
As it goes in the middle of the movie, it’s easy to think that Clyde is the protagonist and that Rice is the bad guy, being realized in the film that Clyde, the victim, is just doing justice for his family by butchering the murderer of his family, while Rice has made a deal to the murderer named Darby ten years earlier. Darby, the murderer has given a five-year sentence, for pleading guilty to the crime. While Rupert Ames, the accessory, is given a death penalty.
Ten years later, after Clyde murdered the killer of his family, surprising plausibility goes on as the film continues with Clyde inside the prison for confessing to his crime. Being revealed as the weapon engineer and a Spy who worked for the Department of Defense in his hey days, Clyde acts in the film like a God, mastering every move which is pre-planned for ten years. After ten years he materializes the plan and wins every move he makes against Rice, the D.A and rest of the people involved with the deal. His only motive: to bring justice to all and to teach Rice a lesson.
The climax is engaging and thrilling as Rice and the D.A discovers Clyde’s secret tunnel in prison. Clyde’s plan is to bring the corrupt government into Rice’s head by planting a bomb inside the City Hall, where the meeting with the Mayor and the rest of the local government of Philadelphia will take place. Rice outsmarts Clyde in the end by bringing the bomb right under his bed in prison. Clyde makes a huge mistake by detonating the bomb through his cellphone without knowing what under his bed.
The only implausibility of the movie is that Rice, the city prosecutor, suddenly became more like a police, a special force who knows the tactics and can predict Clyde’s move in the end. The rest of the movie is flawless though. The significance and the moral lesson is that, never play with justice and never make a deal with the convicted for self interest.
The movie turns out that Clyde, the antagonist and Rice the good guy, who also makes mistakes in the real world. My rating for this movie is 3.5 out of five stars.