Unusual film, unusual and smart, and must watch with suspension of disbelief. It’s good because you don’t know where it is taking you, in other words, what would happen next or would it ? Promises, promises! Keep thy promises is the underline theme.
Cleverly written, and down beneath you will say wow, really, c’mon, all at once, or one at a time, or in combinations. Despite how wrong and evil Clyde Shelton(Gerard Butler) is, you will secretly hope that he will escape.
The story starts off with Nick Rice(Jamie Foxx) boasting about his high conviction rates in front of his superior, and we can tell that he is the typical ladder-climbing-ambitious counsel in the DA office. He bargains with murderers and commits them for a shorter prison terms, so he cuts deals. Clyde’s wife and daughter were murdered in front of his eyes, and the murderer Clarence Darby(Christian Stolte) walks after three years in jail. Nick tells Clyde that is the best deal he can get him and for his family. Clarence shakes Nick’s hand outside court house after sentencing.
Ten years later, Nick is now ADA and mentoring Sarah Lowell(Leslie Bibb). His daughter is about 10 year-old, who he has little time to spend with. On Rupert Ames(Josh Stewart)’s execution day something terribly went wrong. Ames is the other convict that was in Clyde’s house. Clarence’s fate is catching up with him too, au style Dexter! Clyde surrenders (don’t know why all naked…perhaps to prove that he has no weapons) and now faces Nick’s interrogations. Great scenes and dialogues from here to the courtroom in front of bitchy judge.
Beyond that is all chess game, how many steps are you really ahead of your opponent? The actions are tight. Yes, most things are plausible while you are watching it, and let’s just leave it that way. For some reasons, it works.
If the film wasn’t so sadistic, it might as well be Mission Impossible or Bourne Identity, the difference is that we watch Ethan or Jason kill people without guilt. This one, well, a little, perhaps Clyde – the vigilante – may have gone a tiny bit too far.
p.s. there are no good guys in this film, so make it refreshing or in other words, no wishy-washy dramas. Love the scene when the judge writes her law to prevent Clyde from escaping, and her phone rings!