Static Mass Rating: 2/5
JUSTICE (Blu-ray)
Momentum Pictures

Release date: March 26th, 2012
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 105 minutes

Director: Roger Donaldson
Writer: Robert Tannen

Cast: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce

It was just a few weeks ago someone very close to me was attacked on her way home. It wasn’t even dark and it was just off a main road. This single violent encounter will stay with her for a long time to come and there’s no easy fix when it comes to dealing with the trauma and shock.

Like her parents, I too felt powerless. As someone older and someone who’s watched her grow up over the years I felt I failed her; I wasn’t there to help. With the police arriving hours later, no CCTV footage and no witnesses coming forward, it seems unlikely these thugs will be brought to justice and will probably attack again, just for the fun of it.

It’s with that in mind I sat down to watch this thriller which puts the focus on vigilante justice after a similar attack.


We meet high school teacher Will Gerard (Nicholas Cage) and his wife Laura (January Jones). Happily married, they live together in New Orleans and as the film starts they are celebrating their anniversary. Shortly afterwards, while Will is playing chess with a friend one night, Laura is about to get into her car and make her way home, but a stranger drags her into the back seat where the ensuing attack takes place.

Laura is left beaten, bruised and in a state of shock. Sitting in the hospital waiting room, Will is approached by a man who calls himself Simon (Guy Pearce) and says he works for a secret organisation that helps citizens get justice when the law cannot provide it.

Simon makes Will an offer; they know the whereabouts of the man who’s committed this crime and they can take care of the situation for him, in return for them calling in a favour some time in the future.


From there, Justice begins a slow descent that departs from everything I expected from a revenge thriller, but even before that, it’s a film I found difficult to connect with. Shot in a style that keeps us aloof from the emotions and motivations of its characters, it shows rather tells and keeps us from feeling anything that might help us gain some insight into Will and why’s doing what he’s doing. Even the shots of New Orleans do little to bring any kind of atmosphere to the film, at least any that would do this great city some…justice.

There’s hardly a feeling of surprise when Simon begins to turn up everywhere in Will’s life to remind him of his obligations. Reluctant to take another man’s life, even one who is a child sex offender, Will nevertheless gets drawn deeper and deeper into a situation that has little in common with the premise the film first began with.


In contrast with vigilante justice thrillers like The Brave One (2007), which saw Jodie Foster going after the gang that attacked her and killed her fiancé, Hard Candy (2005) with teenager Ellen Page stalking a child molester and Eye For An Eye (1996), where Sally Field avenges her young daughter’s rape and murder, Justice offers nothing but a passing glance at human nature at its ugliest.

It’s a by-the-numbers thriller with little thrills and a missed opportunity to tell us something relevant about the times we live in. While the idea of revenge and vigilante justice in the absence of the perpetrators being caught, facing trial and serving time for their crimes is especially appealing, all actions have consequences. It’s in the realisation of this that we often decide to move on with our lives and some of us look to movies for a vague sense of release or closure, but with Justice, I found neither.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.