PUBLISHED: 08:40 22 November 2011
Justice is coming for Nicolas Cage, but what exactly does he have coming to him and what on earth has he done to deserve it? Here he plays a man who falls under the influence of a mysterious vigilante group.
In return for executing the man who raped his wife, he is expected to do any task they set him, without question and without knowing why they need him to do it.
Looking at Cage’s recent career choices, you’d assume that he is in a similar predicament. The idea that anyone could have read this script and thought it was a winner is inconceivable.
Rather poignantly, Justice returns Cage to New Orleans, location of recent career triumph Bad Lieutenant. That was only last year but, alongside Kick-Ass, it proved to be just a brief interval in an unrelenting stream of stinkers – the previous instalment of which was last week’s Trespass.
Still, in the opening 20-odd minutes, you cautiously invest in the situation, feel the anguish when his wife Laura (January Jones) is assaulted and, when a stranger (Guy Pearce) appears in the hospital offering instant retribution, it seems like a genuine dilemma.
Any kind of recognisable human behaviour, however, is quickly abandoned and the last hour is lots of driving and running around.
That it turns out to be a bad move is no surprise. But the speed and scale with which it all goes wrong is unexpected. The secret organisation is running a scheme which is part Strangers On A Train, part La Ronde, and part Fight Club.
Normally, in such films, there is a period where the appeal of taking the law into your own hands is at least acknowledged before
the case against is made. The film’s stance, while seemingly liberal, is so unbending it becomes oddly oppressive.
The film’s only merit is that representation of the sexual assault is brief while managing to communicate the full horror of the ordeal.
Against that, it should be noted that the film is all about the suffering which Laura’s rape causes her husband. Once her use as a plot point dries up, the character is largely forgotten and disappears for long stretches.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau, Jennifer Carpenter and Xander Berkeley
Length: 104 mins