The idea of paramilitary forces operating below the radar is a notion we tend to think of as rather exotic, and in any case happening somewhere else far away. Unless you’re talking that whole battalion of futuristic action blockbusters, a monotonous fantasy genre unto itself.
But the urban crime thriller Seeking Justice has something more edgy and disturbing on its mind. That is, with the full blown war on terror potentially taken to excess these days as the government contemplates even stripping suspects of US citizenship – the better to bypass individual civil liberties – who knows what contingency plans might be gathering in place to address any growing mass protests against the way things are.
Which lends to Seeking Justice an alarming significant weight, in its delicate balancing act between sci-fi fantasy and what might easily end up going down in a repressive here and now. And who better to masterfully impart that sense of unrelieved crazed panic mixed with impulsive wrongheadedness, than Nicolas Cage.
Feverishly grappling with a series of mounting unthinkable situations, Cage is Will Gerard, a New Orleans inner city high school teacher in an ecstatically loving storybook marriage with his wife, Laura (January Jones). That is, until the night she’s raped and nearly beaten to death on her way home.
And later, while holding anxious vigil at the hospital, Gerard is approached by a mysterious, creepy stranger. Simon (Guy Pearce) not only claims to know the identity of the rapist, but offers to kill him as well, if Gerard will return an as yet unnamed favor in the future.
At first balking at this suspiciously Faustian bargain with who knows what Big Easy devils in his midst, Gerard gives in to his worst instincts and irrepressible rage. Rather than say, biding his time until revenge is more sensibly a dish best served cold.
Which sets off a grueling, nightmarish escalating chain of events playing out across the city. And that manages in the capable hands of action director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out, Thirteen Days) to come off feeling both like a freaky futuristic urban fairy tale, and as alarmingly familiar as the evening news.
Though at the same time, Seeking Justice is not immune from a couple of nutty detours ranging from the silly to sly. Including cloak and dagger passwords having to do with jumping rabbits, and symbolically laden candy from a dispenser dubbed the Forever Bar, and presumably filling in for a secret handshake among co-conspirators.
And last but far from least as we approach April, a line likely added into the mix minus disclaimer, by Cage. Namely, that a rape conviction results in ‘half the time you get for tax evasion.’
Anchor Bay Entertainment