Law Abiding Citizen (2009)


run time: 109 mins
rated: R
considered: Crime, Drama, Thriller
director: F. Gary Gary
starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Gregory Itzin, Regina Hall, Emerald-Angel Young, Christian Stolte, Annie Corley, Richard Portnow, Viola Davis, Michael Kelly, Josh Stewart

movie summary: Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) lives a normal life with his wife and daughter in a suburban Philadelphia neighbourhood. One night two guys Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte) and Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart) break into his house, kill both his wife and daughter, and get sent to jail for their crimes. Within a couple of weeks Darby is set free while the Ames is sentenced to the death row. Clyde is crushed that Darby is set free so he sets out for revenge on the whole justice system including the lead defence attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx).

Darby accepts a plea bargain to testify against Ames during the trial and gets a lesser sentence. During that time Clyde begins to set his plans in motion. Clyde disguises himself as a cop to bust Darby only to drug him and then bring him to an old warehouse to cut him up into pieces on video camera. Ames public execution goes horribly wrong leaving the cops to think Clyde is the number suspect, he surrenders himself as the cop ambush his house. Once inside jail he meets Nick and offers him information in exchange for a new bed, a steak dinner, and an iPod for his prison cell. Nick shrugs Clyde off before his wife calls to tell him the Darby murder tape is that their house and his young daughter just watched it. Nick is furious but refuses to give into Clyde’s demands until he learns that Bill Reynolds (Richard Portnow) is being held hostage somewhere in the city. Nick agrees to Clyde’s demands before racing off to the coordinates while Clyde sits back to enjoy his new perks.

Clyde doesn’t make any new friends in prison with his new bed, steak dinner, and blaring music but offers to share his meal with his cell mate which he then stabs to death with his Spork. These actions land Clyde in solitary confinement which seems to be part of his plan. Nick and the District Attorney Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill) are trying to figure out what Clyde’s motives are as well as his next move. They meet with an CIA operative only to get grim news that Clyde is a trained assassin and should he want anyone dead he will find a way to make it happen, even if he is locked up in prison. Nick and Jonas head over to see Judge Burch (Annie Corley) to block any liberties Clyde might have only to watch her get her brains blown out when she answers her cell phone.

Anyone involved with Darby and Ames’ case are dying one by one and even though Clyde is locked up in solitary confinement, he is still the number one suspect. At the cemetery for Judge Burch’s funeral, Nick and Jonas’ motorcade gets ambushed by a military weapon that fires a few hundred bullets at the SUVs before blowing them up. Nick barely survives with his life and enters police protection shortly thereafter. He arranges for members of his legal office to meet at the prison to be safe as they explore any and all leads about Clyde. Clyde warns Nick that if he isn’t set free by 6am everyone will die, as the clock ticks over to 6:01 every one breathes a sigh of relief before going home. Everyone from the legal team with the exception of Nick dies when their cars explode in the prison parking lot.

Nick is the only person left alive who had an involvement with the case. He teams up with police detective Dunnigan (Colm Meaney) to pursue any leads the team may have. They learn that there is a bomb set to go off at city hall during the mayor’s city councilor meeting which could bring down the whole city’s government in one second. Nick gets information that Clyde owns a bunch of properties across the city so they begin to search each one until they find what they need to disarm the bomb and put an end to the reign of terror that Clyde has brought down on the city.


my thoughts: Law Abiding Citizen is an action-packed thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to piece together how exactly is Clyde killing people when he’s in prison. You won’t see the ending coming and even if you said you did, you’d be lying because the story never hints at any of it. The story comes full circle in terms of proving a point about how corrupt the criminal justice system while seeking revenge, as great as it seems, may not be the smartest thing to do.

Gerard Butler and Jaime Foxx share amazing chemistry together as they try to outsmart one another for two hours. Clyde has all the tools to pull off the perfect crimes while Nick is just a step behind in piecing together the murders and what the next target will be. Neither of them are scared of the other despite they hold each other’s lives in the palm of their hands. The tension raises as the body count mounts and no one has a clue of why or how this is all happening.

In one of the most dramatic and exciting thrillers in years, Law-Abiding Citizen is a great movie that can be watched over and over even when you know how it ends. There are so many small things that occur during the movie that one could miss the first time through, so it is worth a multiple time watch. The story and characters move the story along at a fast pace that help make the movie fly by and keep you entertained.

my star rating: 9 out 10 7.4 out 10 25% out 100%
metascore: 34/100

One thought on “Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

  1. Filmed literally two minutes outside of my house. Sadly, that’s all I really have to say about this considering I’m not such a big fan of this movie in general. Good review Ryan.

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