Justice (15)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce

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The Independent Culture

The title alone should be a warning. Set in New Orleans – "a city going to hell" – Nicolas Cage stars as a high-school teacher whose life is ambushed when his wife (January Jones) is brutally assaulted and raped on her way home.

While in the hospital waiting room, the grieving husband is approached by a stranger (Guy Pearce) offering to "deal with" the rapist, free of charge. Having agreed to this vigilante justice, however, Cage fatally declines to ask what he'll have to do in return. Roger Donaldson's thriller looks to be a mildly suspenseful variation on Strangers on a Train – one man picked at random to do another's killing – but then blows all credibility in a daft conspiracy plot of silly passwords and arthritic chases. At one point Cage has to recover some vital info from the desk of a dead investigative reporter: so he walks in and helps himself, unbothered by a single other journo. Even in these tough times newspapers haven't altogether abandoned the idea of security. Donaldson has some interesting previous work on his CV (No Way Out, Thirteen Days) but journeyman filler like this will only get him a hiding in the court of reputation.