Will Gerard, played by an unusually subdued Nicolas Cage, deeply loves his sunny wife Laura, played by Mad Men‘s January Jones. Then one night, as classical musician Laura walks to her car after rehearsal, she is brutally raped. Fortunately, director Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job) spares us most of the gruesome details, but while the image of her bruised and beaten face is difficult to view, it is necessary to see to understand the journey her husband Will is about to undertake.
At the hospital, Will is approached by a sympathetic stranger, who somehow knows the identity of the criminal who assaulted Laura. Will is shocked but wants to know more. The stranger is Simon, played by a mysterious Guy Pearce, who claims to be part of an underground network of concerned citizens who take justice into their own hands. Simon offers to “take care of” Laura’s rapist. Distraught, Will vehemently says no.
But soon, Will can’t deny the temptation of employing this vigilante justice team. Instead of money, however, Simon’s crew works for favors and he informs Will that he will be asked for such a favor in the future but it will be something easy, like disabling a surveillance camera. Will agrees and is instructed to purchase two “Forever” candy bars out of the hospital vending machine to start the ball rolling. Perhaps the name of this candy bar is to symbolize to Will the finality of what he is setting into motion, but the whole scene feels a bit clunky. Soon enough, however, Simon makes good on the promise and Laura’s rapist has a bullet in his brain.
Relieved, Will tries to get on with his life while Laura tries to recover. She is changed, of course, and though she knows her rapist was killed, she doesn’t know her husband was part of it. Will’s secret gets more complicated when Simon calls to collect on the “favor” Will owes him. Turns out it’s not to disable a video camera. It is much, much bigger. And darker.
Seeking Justice asks deep, ethical questions about morality and responsibility, being both well-paced and well-acted. It’s nice to see Nicolas Cage take a role seriously and give a sincere, grounded performance. Some of you however, might prefer Cage in the full, quirky glory of the Ghost Rider. January Jones is lovely and plays the fragile Laura adeptly. Guy Pierce as Simon is perhaps the most interesting character, revealing his ulterior motives and darker secrets at the most opportune times.
Bottom line: Seeking Justice has an interesting, thought-provoking premise, exploring both the best — and worst — of human nature.
Photo credit: Anchor Bay Films