“Law Abiding Citizen”
Better arrive at this movie on
time, because the first scene is very important.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is with his lovely daughter,
who’s making him a bracelet that says “Daddy.”
The next thing we know, the whole family is brutally attacked,
, bound and gagged, is forced to watch as his wife is assaulted and his
daughter is taken, and then he blacks out.
He wakes up to a different kind of nightmare, a Hell that never
ends: both his wife and
daughter are dead, and the assistant DA, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) wants to
cut a deal where one of the assailants turns evidence on the other, in
exchange for a light sentence.
protests vigorously, to no avail. The
confident, ambitious Rice is all about winning percentage:
rate of conviction, that is.
It’s just good politics.
Fast-forward ten years.
Rice’s daughter is an accomplished cello player, but he
doesn’t really have time to attend her concerts;
he’s busy racing along the career fast track, and
is a very big stage.
seems to have disappeared. One
convicted thug has already been released, and the other will suffer the
ultimate penalty. But
something goes terribly wrong with the execution.
And everything falls apart rapidly after that.
, it seems, has not been idle or absent, but has been planning an
elaborate revenge on everybody involved in the case.
He’s gone and acquired expertise in secret ops, courtesy of the
government, he’s an accomplished inventor and engineer, he’s
acquired a secret fortune with considerable industrial land holdings,
now mysteriously removed into a labyrinth of Panamanian non-regulations
and offshore banking accounts.
is a man on a mission. And
he manages to wreak havoc from the prison to the courtroom to the police
station all the way to City Hall. He
seems unstoppable in his ruthlessness.
< /SPAN>All that really opposes him, it seems, is the dogged
resourcefulness of Nick Rice.
Watch with fascination as these
two proud antagonists strive against each other while struggling with
the law that binds both of them differently. It’s a complex
plot, but in the end, it boils down to the imperfect “good guy”
versus the formerly-law-abiding-citizen “bad guy.” It’s an
old-fashioned crime drama with lots of twists, surprises, and even a
couple of shocks along the way. It’s not for the fainthearted.
But it is simply riveting.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor,
Grace Presbyterian Church,