copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

If your expectation when going to see this movie is to meet a relative of Hannibal Lector, the calm and all knowing master, you will be somewhat disappointed.

Law Abiding Citizen is a concept that just begs to speak to the primal feeling of hatred within many of us towards the big bad government man. In this instance it is one angry mastermind whom we get to see take it out on the system. You could do much with this concept. You do need some intelligent complexity to tickle the viewer's brain throughout such a film, but the base for success is already there. Sadly, this one got messed up.

The story is has a few unpredictable turns, but unpredictable is not a good thing if the twists and turns do not lead to anything satisfying. The makers do not go through with the whole genius-criminal concept like, for example, in Silence of the Lambs or Saw. Neither do they go through with a brilliant-detective concept. The movie ends up being somewhere in the middle or nowhere at all and the ending ends up being a total letdown.

The talking doesn't make things any better. Most of the dialogue between the two main characters, the district attorney and the angry guy, could be taken away and it would make no difference whatsoever. The two are talking intensely, and you may for a while think that you do not understand whose point is more just and what that point is, but do not worry - if you're not understanding it's because there is no clear point, moral or other - just English words said in a thrilled tone and repeated at the next encounter. This is why, although the acting presented is solid, the characters are a little dead, and they make the story a little dead, which in turn makes the movie a little dead. I remember Hannibal Lector, I remember Norman Bates, but I already forgot the the name of the bad guy from this movie.

If the characters aren't particularly interesting then you tend to look for something else. So what else is there? This is a thriller with not many special effects, so the action is not the center piece. The thrills do work, even if due to the viewer's confusion rather than anything else. Also, one result of the shallow main characters is that the rest of the cast gets more spotlight, which they take gracefully.

Law Abiding Citizen is not bad - it's bi-curious. It doesn't quite know what it wants to be. In a way, that fact mixed with a healthy dose of violence keeps you closer to the edge of your chair. However, the expectation for a satisfying (or unsatisfying) release never gets justified – the pretty silver bowl is empty.

Law Abiding Citizen