Justice: an ugly male revenge drama

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Justice, movie
Justice: Nicholas Cage hiding the fact he's supposed to be an English teacher in the movie

Justice, or to give it its original title, Seeking Justice, stars Xander Berkeley, January Jones, Guy Pearce and of course, ‘The King of The Equines’, Nicholas Cage.

After Laura Gerard (Jones) is sexually assaulted, her husband, Will (Cage), is approached by the mysterious Simon (Pearce), who explains that he works for an organisation that deals in ‘justice’, where institutions like the police service fail. Will is initially hesitant to accept Simon’s offer of vigilante justice, but predictably, his desire for revenge gets the better of him and he agrees to Simon’s terms. However, that deal quickly sours, when Simon requests that in exchange for his services, that Will must murder a supposed paedophile. So what will he do?

The most vulgar thing about Justice is its casual use of rape as a plot device. It’s disturbing because the sexual assault is little more than a catalyst for the ‘real’ ordeal – Will’s agreement with vigilantes. Once Will has agreed to Simon’s terms and Laura’s rapist has been murdered, the film quickly skips forward six months, neglecting any discussion concerning the ‘real’ crime. Laura’s rape is treated as a minor plot-point, something to facilitate the introduction of Simon’s shady organisation and initiate Will’s subconscious desire to reassert himself as the Alpha-male. Who cares what Laura feels, it’s not like she’s the one who got… oh wait.

The other problem with this film is Nic Cage’s character, Will. Apparently, he’s a school teacher and an English teacher at that. That’s right, Nicholas Cage, a school teacher. No, I couldn’t believe it either.

January Jones does an admirable role with what she’s given, ie she turns up, gets raped and then occasionally looks sad or expresses some concern about her personal safety and the desire to own a gun – a gun that in no way will become key in the film’s final act.

Xander Berkeley turns up briefly, playing a jaded police officer, who believes in the ‘organisations’ early day aspirations, when they were all about killing, guilty people. Guy Pearce, however, manages to elevate himself slightly higher than everybody else, but largely because he’s Guy Pearce.

Justice is little more than a male-revenge-drama, albeit a particularly ugly one. It is a film which is perfectly happy to trivialise rape, reducing it to mere plot point for the film’s ‘real’ story. A story which isn’t the slightest bit interested in the plight of the women, who suffer this most brutal crime. The real crime though, is that far too many will watch this, oblivious to its vulgarity.

Justice is released on March 9.