Seeking Justice is a serviceable film that’s not going to challenge the brain, especially the plot, but because of a thankfully subdued Nicolas Cage and an impressive supporting cast, it’s at least worth checking out even if it’s only a rental. The Blu-ray isn’t anything to write home about either with a superficial featurette and a trailer. The audio and video transfers are fine if not unexceptional.
Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Anchor Bay | R – 105 min. – $34.98 | June 19, 2012
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Writer(s): Robert Tannen & Todd Hickey (story), Robert Tannen (screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau, Jennifer Carpenter, Xander Berkeley
Theatrical Release Date: March 16, 2012 (limited release)
Features: Featurette, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 21.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Hungry Rabbit Jump
On Rotten Tomatoes, the general concesus for this suspense-thriller was: “nothing more than a typical potboiler with another phoned-in performance from Nicolas Cage.” I’m not sure what movies they’ve been watching, but say what you will about movies like The Wicker Man and the two Ghost Rider films (and make no mistake, all three are awful in their own unique ways), Cage’s performances is anything but “phoned-in”. This isn’t to say Cage’s performance in his latest, Seeking Justice, is a particularly fine one, but personally I’ll take the calm and collected Nicolas Cage over the wild and zany one we’ve seen before…
Seeking Justice is set in New Orleans where we meet Will Gerard (NICOLAS CAGE), a high school literature teacher and his wife and cellist Laura (JANUARY JONES). They are, of course, in love but their lives are shattered when one night after Laura got out of rehearsal, she’s brutally attacked and raped. Will arrives at the hospital to see his wife with multiple lacerations, eyes swollen shut and just in absolute agony.
While in the waiting room Will is approached by a man calling himself Shane (GUY PEARCE) who tells Will he and his organization know who raped Laura and can, in exchange for a favor down the line, take care of the problem. Initially reluctant, Will finally agrees realizing that a trial would be torture for his wife and a conviction is hardly a guarantee. So, that night when the rapist returns home, he is shot and killed. Upon completion of the murder, the killer phones Shane and says the words: “Hungry Rabbit Jumps”.
Fast forward six months and life is generally back to normal. There are new locks on the door to the Gerard apartment, bars on the window and Laura is still dealing with her ordeal, but the couple seems to be coping. And then Shane re-enters Will’s life at first with a simple task: go to the zoo and mail an envelope addresses to Santa Clause. When Will arrives at the zoo and in front of the mail box, he receives another phone call to instead open the envelope (good thing he hadn’t dropped it in!) which contains pictures of a woman, her two kids and her purported child pornographer ex-husband, Leon Walczak. He’s ordered to just follow the woman around and call in if the ex shows up (he doesn’t).
Thinking his job is done, he receives yet another job: this time to take the bus, get off at the same stop as the subject and throw him off a catwalk into traffic, making it look like suicide. He refuses to do so which only causes Shane to become very angry that Will is going back on their agreement (which, btw, did not include killing anybody). Will follows the subject in order to warn him but is instead attacked which causes the man to go over the ledge, just as was planned. However, thanks to surveillance footage Will is arrested for murder – the one over the catwalk proving his innocence is conveniently missing – for the man who went by a different name than was given: Alan Marsh, a reporter for the New Orleans Gazette who apparently had been working on a big story. Will is set free by the police lieutenant (XANDER BERKELEY) who is a part of the organization and knows if Will does not escape, he will be killed to made look like a suicide.
Now on the run, with his wife also in danger, Will must uncover the true identity of Shane, find the story Marsh had been working on and clear his name all while being chased by shady forces. Yeah, it’s basically The Fugitive meets convolution.
Alright, so for Seeking Justice we get the calmer, gentler Nicolas Cage over the wild and over-the-top version and having recently endured Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, it’s a welcomed reprieve. No, Cage doesn’t exactly give a commanding performance or anything but he’s good enough in what is otherwise kind of a bland, made-for-television character (kind of surprised this wasn’t a Lifetime movie). Even so, he’s fine in the role and lets the audience root for him no matter how ridiculous the plot may get.
The supporting cast includes January Jones who does a good job both playing a victim but also kicking some ass in the third act while the sadly underrated and woefully underused Guy Pearce gets the thankless task of playing a one-dimensional villain but Pearce is certainly menacing enough to fulfill the part. Harold Perrineau of “Lost” fame and Jennifer Carpenter from “Dexter” are also in it but don’t make much of an impact, Carpenter especially getting only 5-minutes of screen time as Jones’ best friend. None of these performances are particularly memorable, but as with Cage, they did their best with what they’ve been given.
Seeking Justice was directed by Roger Donaldson whose resume ranges from Species to The Recruit and The Bank Job. His direction isn’t anything special but its effective enough and provides the right amount of pacing all things considered.
The script was co-written by Robert Tannen who’s previous and only credited, effort was 2006’s ensemble drama, Even Money which I saw once and wasn’t all that impressed, although it wasn’t bad either… However, the screenplay here was, at best, thin and I wasn’t sure at the start how far it could stretch, but thanks to Cage and his supporting cast, it at least led to entertaining if not forgettable 105-minutes. The plot is certainly inane yet my attention was captured until the end which is far more than I can say about so many other films today.
All in all, Seeking Justice is a serviceable film that’s not going to challenge the brain, especially the plot, but because of a thankfully subdued Nicolas Cage and an impressive supporting cast, it’s at least worth checking out even if it’s only a rental.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
Seeking Justice: Behind the Scenes (7:08; SD) – This is a very basic featurette where you have Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Harold Perrineau and director Roger Donaldson explaining the characters, fellow actors and the plot intermixed with behind-the-scenes footage.
Also includes is the Theatrical Trailer (2:04; HD) and a retail DVD Copy.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Anchor Bay releases Seeking Justice onto Blu-ray with a fine looking transfer. Presented in 1080p high-definition and in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, the movie might not have much of a punch but it still looks good. The detail levels are well done and the color array is pretty standard fare for a movie of this type. It might not wow your socks off, but at the same time, it’s decent looking transfer.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The disc comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track which is suitable, but nothing more, nothing less. The dialogue levels comes across the best mainly from the center speaker while the few action scenes are dispersed via the front and rear channels. Although this track doesn’t quite have the oomph compared with others, it’s still satisfactory enough.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Seeking Justice is a serviceable film that’s not going to challenge the brain, especially the plot, but because of a thankfully subdued Nicolas Cage and an impressive supporting cast, it’s at least worth checking out even if it’s only a rental. The Blu-ray isn’t anything to write home about either with a superficial featurette and a trailer. The audio and video transfers are fine if not unexceptional.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.