Directed by Robert Donaldson, Justice is an action-thriller that revolves around a man’s quest for justice and the consequences of accepting the favours of a secret group of vigilantes.
After Laura Gerard (January Jones) is raped by a stranger on her way home, her overwrought husband, high-school English teacher Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage), accepts the offer of a secret organisation of vigilantes to kill the rapist in exchange for an undisclosed future favour.
Guy Pearce plays the part of Simon, the vigilante who approaches Will at the hospital just a few hours after the rape. Simon is a somewhat dispiriting villain, the kind that barks more than bites, which isn’t something disappointing in itself, except in this case the barks sound more like yaps.
Justice is a low budget formula fiction that follows the oh-so-predictable ‘happy beginning, problem, resolution, happy ending’ narrative.
Somewhere in the film, pitifully close to the beginning, the plot turns from potentially interesting and morally enigmatic to horribly dull and unsurprising.
By the end of the 105 minute feature you are left with not much more than a Hollywood style resolution of the main characters’ problems. There is no attempt to wrap up the underlying questions that the film presents the audience with during the first scenes and that would potentially make this film genuinely thrilling.
The blame lies primarily with Donaldson (Dante’s Peak) and the writers, Todd Hickey and Robert Tannen (Even Money) who do an extremely poor job with the development of the story and the characters.
The initial intrigue is interesting enough, but they fail to make anything new of it. There is no progressive, mind-blowing, opinion-changing finale in the film.
The acting doesn’t help either. Adaptation and City of Angels did Cage’s superb acting and goggly eyes justice but it seems that, recently, Cage has been disenchanting his fans film after film and Justice is no different. His performance is not up to the above named standards throughout and, as Will recites prose and poetry for his class of delinquents, we reach a whole new level of ludicrousness.
In the midst of such hopelessness, praise goes to Jones, whose brilliant performance in Mad Men transpired in her part as Laura. The rape and subsequent hospital scenes are fairly well produced, but it is all downhill from there.
A mediocre action-thriller, Donaldson’s latest release has just enough scares, drama and plot turns to make it another of Hollywood’s predictable productions.