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Movie Review: Law Abiding Citizen (October, 2009)

Director: F. Gary Gary
Screenplay: Kurt Wimmer
Actors: Gerard Butler, discount Jamie Foxx, page Leslie Bibb
Date of Release: October 16, 2009

In a small house somewhere in the city of Philadelphia, two robbers enter an occupied house and proceed to assault a family of three – a wife, her husband, and their daughter. The end result: a dead wife and a dead daughter. Clyde Shelton (played here by Gerard Butler) then hires Nick Rice (played by Jamie Foxx), a prosecutor with an incredibly high conviction rate, to put the two murderers that killed his family in jail. However, not wanting to risk losing the entire case, Nick decides that it is better to cut a deal with one of the murderers, in order to “win” and get “some justice”. This leaves Clyde extremely disgruntled, with a lack of faith in the justice system.

Gerard Butler does a phenomenal job here, going through different moments of his life, first as a loving father, then a grieving father, to someone who becomes driven to right the justice system in the only way he knows how. He plays each part convincingly, and he acts the role just so perfectly that the viewer may find it difficult NOT to root for Clyde. Butler is an extremely versatile actor, as can be gleaned from seeing his filmography, with such films like “300” to “P.S. I Love You” to his name.

The writing is smart, witty and keeps the viewer on his toes. People have compared Clyde to the Joker, and there are definite parallels in the characters, though with Clyde, there is a purpose in his actions, while the Joker had none. As a viewer, it’s exciting to see who he decides will go next, and in what manner. Some moments are completely shocking. Though Nick is the man of justice, some viewers will find themselves not wanting to be on the side of the justice system but of Clyde’s.


The ending is a doozy, and really well done, though not quite the outcome I had hoped. The other two people I went with agreed with my assessment that it was not quite satisfying, but for personal reasons.


There is quite a bit of violence in this film, so if you can’t handle graphic scenes, then this would not be the best film to see. However, the intense exchanges between Clyde and Nick are worth it, as well as the scenes that involve the supporting actors – ¬†everyone does an excellent job. The whole feel of the film is dark, with dark blue hues, successfully setting the mood of the film. I highly recommend this film if you’re looking for a good suspense thriller. As a viewer who tends to really enjoy thrillers, this was as exciting as one could expect from any movie.

Highly Recommended! 4 laws / 5 laws

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