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Seeking Justice DVD + Blu-ray Review

Seeking Justice (2012) movie poster Seeking Justice

Theatrical Release: March 16, 2012 / Running Time: 105 Minutes / Rating: R / Songs List

Director: Roger Donaldson / Writers: Robert Tannen (screenplay & story), Todd Hickey (story)

Cast: Nicolas Cage (Will Gerard), January Jones (Laura Gerard), Guy Pearce (Simon), Harold Perrineau (Jimmy), Jennifer Carpenter (Trudy), Irone Singleton (Scar), Wayne Pere (Cancer), Xander Berkeley (Lieutenant Durgan), Marcus Lyle Brown (Detective Green), Dikran Tulane (Sideburns), Joe Chrest (Detective Rudeski), Demetrius Bridges (Edwin), Jason Davis (Alan Marsh), Brett Gentile (Bourdette)

Buy Seeking Justice from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD DVD

Nicolas Cage has held leading man status for nearly as long as any film actor getting top billing these days. But after thirty years in the business (a solid twenty of which have been fruitful commercially), Cage seems to have hit a rough patch. With the sheer volume of films he has put out in recent years (clearly fueled by high-profile debt), this was probably inevitable. The numbers have shown that Cage is not always a huge draw. Still, his marquee value seems to have diminished quite quickly.
Cage had the best box office performer of his career in 2007's National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Since then, he hasn't had a $100 million-grossing movie (excluding his unrecognizable G-Force vocal role). It's not for a lack of trying; counting G-Force, he's added twelve theatrical credits to his already considerable filmography since 2008. Most of them just haven't taken off either with critics or moviegoers.

This explains why two of Cage's last three movies have barely gotten theatrical release. It is not as if they are arthouse fare, created with business prospects an afterthought. And it's not as if Cage is desperate enough to be working with novices; Trespass, a blip in ten theaters last fall, co-starred Nicole Kidman and was directed by Joel Schumacher. At least that movie was said to be pretty terrible. The one I'm reviewing here -- Seeking Justice -- is a perfectly serviceable second-class thriller. It got better reviews than a number of the first quarter's bigger action movies, like Act of Valor, Underworld: Awakening, Wrath of the Titans, and so on. It just didn't get a chance to make an impression on many people, opening in 231 theaters and never expanding beyond that. Even so, that was the biggest opening in the five-year history of distributor Anchor Bay Films, a studio that does the bulk of its business on home video.

In "Seeking Justice", Nicolas Cage plays New Orleans high school English teacher Will Gerard, a man reluctant to repay a favor to a vigilante vengeance operation.

Seeking Justice casts Cage as Will Gerard, a goateed English teacher at New Orleans' Rampart High School. The cultured, married Will is Cage playing about as far against type as he ever does these days. Shortly after celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary with his wife Laura ("Mad Men"'s January Jones), a concert cellist, gentlemanly Will leaves his regular chess game with a friend to discover that Laura has been violently robbed, beaten, and raped.

Under unimaginable stress at the hospital, Will is approached by a short-haired stranger calling himself Simon (Guy Pearce). Claiming to be a concerned citizen, Simon makes a persuasive case for his secret organization to find and fatally punish Laura's attacker. It doesn't sound right to Will, but then neither does the scenario of his wife having to endure a difficult trial where the accused could get a sentence shorter than a year if convicted. Will reconsiders his reluctance and, as ordered by Simon, makes a specific vending machine purchase to officially order the hit. No money exchanges hands. Will is simply told that he will be asked to return a favor some time down the line. Simon's organization acts immediately and, as promised, Laura's rapist is murdered.

Six months later, with Laura's every physical wound entirely healed (but not the psychological ones), Will is contacted by Simon and assigned a mysterious task. There's an envelope for Santa Claus and Will is to do some reconnaissance at the zoo. This is merely the beginning, as Will is then instructed by Simon to bump a pedophile in a way that looks like an accident or a suicide. Will is not cut out for this work, but Simon and his colleagues insist he live up to his end of their agreement. It becomes crystal clear that they will not accept no for an answer and will take any means necessary to coax Will's compliance.

When he winds up arrested on suspicion of first degree murder charges, Will learns that this covert organization he has gotten involved with is part of a bigger conspiracy. Protecting Laura, clearing his name, and dissociating himself from this deadly operation will be no easy tasks for just your typical Louisiana schoolteacher.

Simon (Guy Pearce) offers his organization's services to a highly upset Will in the hospital. The blank look on January Jones' face here indicates that Laura doesn't think the men driving her here are truly the police officers they claim to be.

Though writers Robert Tannen and Todd Hickey do not have a great body of work to their names, they do have some clever ideas with which to fuel this film. Australian director Roger Donaldson, an old veteran whose credits include Species, The Recruit, and, most recently, The Bank Job, is comfortable with the material and staging the mystery in diverting ways.

The three lead performances are reasonably compelling and just about what the film needs. Sporting a solid American accent, Pearce is reliably effective, conveying the right ambiguity for his quasi-villain.
As intended, Cage is uncharacteristically not over the top, never once exploding in his signature fashion. Still, he can't resist imbuing the role with some shrewdness and humor, as when Will hatches his own variations on the codes the movie has been dealing in. January Jones is her usual vacant self, adding unintended doubt to the most straightforward of lines.

Seeking Justice does a decent job of building and sustaining suspense, as we uncover the many layers and far reach of this operation that preys upon victims' grieving loved ones. The climax in an apparently genuine abandoned shopping mall delivers not only strong atmosphere but enables the film to use post-Katrina New Orleans as a metaphor for the dire state of those swept up by this conspiracy and coerced to defy their moral codes.

The film's $412 thousand domestic gross fell a wee bit shy of its estimated $17 million budget. In foreign territories, Seeking Justice has fared much better, grossing $12 M, more than a third of that from France, where it opened on the first weekend of 2012.

In the States, Anchor Bay releases Seeking Justice to stores today as a DVD and this two-disc DVD + Blu-ray Combo Pack I review here.

Seeking Justice: DVD + Blu-ray Combo Pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.35:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
5.1 Dolby TrueHD (English); DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Two single-sided, single-layered discs (BD-25 & DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on standalone DVD ($26.98 SRP)

VIDEO and AUDIO

On Blu-ray, Seeking Justice boasts good 5.1 Dolby TrueHD sound and great 2.35:1 picture. Despite the disc occupying just a single layer, both elements are crisp and satisfactory, adding weight to the film.

Director Roger Donaldson talks about "Seeking Justice" from the abandoned New Orleans mall where its climax is set. The DVD version of the main menu seems to divide a concerned Nicolas Cage by a sleeping January Jones.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Just two extras appear on each disc.

First, there is "Seeking Justice: Behind the Scenes" (7:08), a brief and basic making-of featurette. It serves up B-roll and candid comments from Nicolas Cage and director Roger Donaldson,
along with a thought or two from Harold Perrineau and January Jones.

The other extra is Seeking Justice's original theatrical trailer (2:04), the only preview to be found here.

Blu-ray presents both in HD resolution, although the featurette seems to employ standard definition video.

The quietly-scored menu plays a pair of clips side by side against the grey city skyline of the poster art. The Blu-ray does not resume playback, but does support bookmarks on the film.

The plain silver DVD and full-color BD claim opposite sides of an eco-friendly Blu-ray case, which is not joined by a slipcover.

Nicolas Cage is "Seeking Justice" at a New Orleans bus stop.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Seeking Justice isn't a great movie. It is, like I said, a perfectly serviceable second-class thriller. Feel free to quote me on that. Go in expecting a Nic Cage misfire barely released to theaters and you probably will be pleasantly surprised. It's certainly not his worst film of 2012 thus far.

The Blu-ray combo pack offers a decent presentation and value, but the movie will likely warrant no more than a rental for you.

Buy Seeking Justice from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD / DVD

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Related Reviews:
New to Blu-ray: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Jeff, Who Lives at Home Spider-Man Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Shallow Grave
Nicolas Cage: The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans Drive Angry Knowing Con Air Next Ghost Rider
January Jones: Unknown X-Men: First Class | Guy Pearce: Animal Kingdom The King's Speech The Road Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
More Cage: National Treasure National Treasure: Book of Secrets The Sorcerer's Apprentice Season of the Witch Kick-Ass
New Orleans: Welcome to the Rileys The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Deja Vu Dylan Dog: Dead of Night The Mechanic
Mystery/Thrillers: The Firm Faster 28 Weeks Later The Big Bang Chinatown

Seeking Justice Songs List: Kermit Ruffins - "Only in NOLA", Ian Siegal - "I Ain't Drunk", Davell Crawford - "Something You Got", 8mm - "Life is Good", 101 Runners - "Indians Here Dey Come", Jaynison Optreebner - "Max's Blues #1", Walter "Wolfman" Washington - "Funkyard", The Frederick A. Douglas High School Marching Band - "E Scales Jam", 101 Runners - "Let's Go Get Em", Danny O'Flaherty - "The Parting Glass", Taverner Players - "Overture, Act 1. (The Palace)" from Dido and Aenas, Soul Rebels Brass Band - "The 504 March", Deonata Moore - "100 Dollar Bills", "Haere Mai"

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Reviewed June 19, 2012.



Text copyright 2012 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2012 Anchor Bay Films, Endgame Entertainment Company, The Aura Film Partnership, Fierce Entertainment, Material Pictures,
and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.