Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Carpenter, IronE Singleton, Harold Perrineau, Xander Berkeley, Joe Chrest
Written by: Robert Tannen, based on a story by Robert Tannen, Todd Hickey
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality
Running Time: 105
Date: 09/02/2011

Seeking Justice (2012)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Bringing Down the Faust

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Beginning with such a good, simple idea, Seeking Justice would have played much better as a half-hour "Twilight Zone" episode, keeping its secret organization and conspiracy concepts a mystery. A much better feature-length movie might have more deeply explored the moral implications of the main character's choice. But as it stands, director Roger Donaldson and writers Todd Hickey and Robert Tannen instead turn it into a lengthy chase movie that grows ever more ludicrous as it goes.

A New Orleans high school teacher, Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is happily married to a concert musician, Laura (January Jones), until their lives are turned upside down the night Laura is raped. In the hospital, a mysterious man, Simon (Guy Pearce) approaches Will with an offer. Simon will catch and kill the rapist if Will agrees to repay the favor someday. Six months later, Will gets a call. A simple task -- mailing a letter -- quickly escalates into an order to kill a man. Will finds he can't do it, but his decision makes him an enemy of a very powerful and secret organization. His only hope is the secret evidence collected by a dead journalist. Can Will find it, and use it, in time?

For an exploration of a Faustian deal, the movie doesn't seem to care much about morals; it's not okay for the lead character to kill anyone, but it's okay for him to steal cars, bribe people, break and enter, and destroy property. However, for half its length at least -- while the mystery is still mysterious -- the movie expertly provides certain tingles. Additionally, Nicolas Cage has one of his best and most understated roles in some time, and he reminds us why he became a movie star in the first place.

Anchor Bay released a fine-quality two-disc set with a bonus DVD as well as a Blu-ray. Extras include a trailer and a short (7 minute) but pretty cool behind-the-scenes featurette.

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