Critics Can't Abide Citizen

Film combines unnecessary gore with pseudo-insight
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 8:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Movie critics are nearly unanimous in their disgust with Law Abiding Citizen, a grisly revenge drama that's as much a moral failure as a cinematic one.

  • The film is "an exercise in illogic and Death Wish cribbing," writes Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, featuring gratuitous gore and an "eye-rollingly stupid" climax. Pity Jamie Foxx but especially Viola Davis, "who deserves so much better."

  • The "preposterous" tale of Gerard Butler as a man out for blood after the death of his wife and child "has less ethical gravity than any three of the Saw movies," writes New York Times critic AO Scott. His performance is "dinner theater Hannibal Lecter," though it doesn't help that he has to deliver the line: "Some lessons must be learned in blood."
  • "The film is the brain-pummeling bat and we're the forehead," says Colin Colvert. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune critic lambastes not just the incompetent script but the talentless Butler: "How long a film career can a tight set of abs give you?"