Who would have guessed that the best picture of the week would star Nicolas Cage? Certainly not me.
Director Roger Donaldson has made some entertaining movies in the past, notably Thirteen Days and No Way Out, but a good deal of his output has been Hollywood hackwork.
His latest exercise is typically well-crafted, and stars a subdued Cage as Will, a New Orleans teacher who becomes distraught when his much-loved wife (January Jones) is raped.
Slick, competent thriller: Nicolas Cage stars as Will Gerard in the thriller Justice
A mystery man (Guy Pearce) turns up at the hospital and offers to help bring summary justice to the assailant. Will agrees.
But then the mystery man demands favours in return, and Will finds himself the target of a sinister group of vigilantes.
There’s an interesting idea behind the film, which is how far the breakdown of law and order after Hurricane Katrina may have prejudiced ordinary people against the authorities; but the tone is kept so light, and the characters so under-developed, that social issues are never explored.
There’s so little attempt to analyse the rights and wrongs of vigilantism, that it makes Michael Winner’s Death Wish look like a thinkpiece.
Donaldson’s thriller is nowhere near the quality of the last film to feature Cage in New Orleans, Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant, but it may fit the bill if you’re looking for a modestly entertaining chase thriller.
Donaldson’s skilful at orchestrating the action sequences, and there are two plot twists that should take you by surprise. At least you won’t be bored.
Even better news is that Cage doesn’t have to pretend to fall in love with a baby.