Some actors are a brand unto themselves. Nicholas Cage is one such actor, so when I say that Seeking Justice is “a Nic Cage movie,” you will immediately know what I mean. This film firmly resides in the same arena as his more recent work, including Knowing and Next: taking an interesting premise, adding conspiracy theory, and ultimately floundering because of poor production and writing.
To be blunt, this film is kind of a mess. From the acting to the cinematography, this would be a very impressive film if it were made by high school students. I have no idea what director Roger Donaldson (Species, Thirteen Days) was trying to accomplish with this handheld style, but the entire movie looks like it was shot with a pocket camcorder for television.
The story centers around Will Gerard (Cage), a high school English teacher, and his wife Laura (January Jones) as they deal with an organized vigilante conspiracy. Gerard makes a ‘deal with the devil’ when he agrees to let a mysterious man take vengeance for him in exchange for a favor. A fault of the story is that the movie is not smart enough for the web it tries to spin, wallowing in one of my pet peeves: characters who defy any sort of logic, and must have never seen an actual movie.
The script, and thus the acting, leaves much to be desired, and ultimately an engaging plot is left hanging out to dry. I wonder how many iterations this screenplay went through before production started. Seeking Justice is a film desperately trying to be an action movie while the material is more suited to a thriller, focusing more on car chases and gun play than plot twists and shocking revelations.
Most of the film falls into the ‘one man against the conspiracy’ genre, with a little dash of mistaken identity tropes, but it doesn’t even satisfy such other middling fare as The Adjustment Bureau. This is definitely one to avoid.
Seeking Justice opens today in Philly-area theaters.