Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Writer Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Congratulations to Mark Bykerk! First Guest Writer on Yet Another Movie Blog.
This should have been the promotion poster.
Law Abiding Citizen focuses on one man's view of the criminal justice system. Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is this man. Witnessing the rape and murder of both his wife and five year old daughter, he wants full retribution on the attackers. He hires one of Philadelphia's top prosecution lawyers, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), who has a firm 96% conviction rate. Not wanting to ruin this percentage, Rice decides to make a deal with Clarence J. Darby (Christian Stolte), the rapist and murderer. As long as Darby pleads guilty to the third degree murder and provides testimony that will send his accomplice, Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart), to death row, he will receive little jail time. Shelton feels betrayed by this, but since he cannot change Rice’s mind, he decides to take justice into his own hands.
Ten years following the trial, Ames is executed via lethal injection, but due to a “chemical malfunction” he dies in intense pain. This "chemical malfunction" resulted from Shelton switching chemicals in order to cause an agonizing, painful death. Shelton then continues his revenge by contacting Darby, now out of jail, and ambushing  him. Shelton then proceeds to take justice into his own hands, paralyzing Darby, and then brutally dismembering him while he's still conscious. Following this grotesque murder, Shelton is arrested and put in court for the murders of Darby and Ames. Some of the best scenes in this movie come from the debate in the courtroom, and also outline  the political point the movie is trying to make. The most important part is  Shelton's long monologue to the judge overseeing the trial, regarding his (mostly negative) view of the criminal justice system. This scene provides suspense, but also a great deal of humor, and  was one of my favorite parts of this movie. The rest of the film revolves around Shelton’s attempt to prove the justice system wrong while managing to bring “the whole world down.” (Dark Knight reference, anyone?) The city surrounding Shelton crumbles because of him . . . yet he sits peacefully in his jail cell.
This “2009 American thriller film” is quite different from the many genres films seem to fall in. It is built off of the familiar theme of a murder slash revenge story, yet what follows is anything but similar, to the point of being almost strange. The events that take place throughout this movie are wildly variable. Suspense, violence, depression, torture, and humor are a few of the many emotions this movie creates, all somehow managing to come together to create a good, suspenseful movie. I was surprised and a little confused to see how  such random elements could combine to create such a good movie.
Fire. It seems to be a theme. Or not.
Gerard Butler was fantastic in his pivotal role as Clyde Shelton, filled with intensity and seriousness the whole movie. Even in some of the more humorous scenes he never let you forget the suspense that was building behind it. Unfortunately, Jamie Foxx seemed to lack Gerard's intensity, despite the emotional trauma his character experienced. At times where he needed to be harsh and intense, he showed very little passion and the scene withered down and slowly died. Thankfully, as soon as Butler would show up it would flower back up again quickly. If Foxx would release some more of the emotions his character seemed to be experiencing, the scene would stay exciting and alive the whole time instead of going good to bad to good again, which would have brought some more fire to the movie.
The end of this film was mildly disappointing. It ended fairly quickly and seemed to be a bit more “typical hollywood finale” than I was expecting of  such an otherwise unconventional movie. Ending with a literal boom, it did catch you off guard, but adding even a few minutes to the end could have made less about the suddenness and perhaps a more satisfying ending. While I did enjoy the concept of the finale, I lost a little respect as the credits began rolling unexpectedly.
Although this movie is filled with extreme brutal violence which makes me slightly uneasy saying I liked it, I have to say that this is a phenomenal movie.
Official YAMB rating: Like

Guest Writer: Mark Bykerk

Please take note: This is a Guest Writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the YAMB B* Team/ Blog Team/ Writing Staff. Thank you. 


  1. Nice Job, Mark. And Congrats at being the first guest writer here!

  2. Although I was actually not a huge fan of this movie I am a fan of you Mr. Bykerk. Thanks for contributing to the blog, I'm looking foward to seeing your continued work.

  3. Thanks, Peter! Nate, I actually cannot believe that you would become a fan of me, "the heckler." haha. But Thank You. And I shall try to write more in the future.

  4. haha yes Mark I am actually pleasantly suprised at your lack of trolling. Heckling on the other hand might be rather amusing should you ever try it.

  5. i would never troll, however heckling is more my style

  6. Thanks, Peter! Nate, I actually cannot believe that you would become a fan of me, "the heckler." haha. But Thank You. And I shall try to write more in the future.


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