By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Nic Cage thriller is violent, with iffy messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie looks at a "deal with the devil" -- involving violence and revenge -- that goes awry and the subsequent ethical choices made to set things right again. But while the main character's intentions are at least somewhat admirable, his methods aren't.
Positive Role Models
The main character makes an ethical choice, but only after he has made a terrible decision involving revenge and murder. He regrets it and finds himself unable to pull off the illegal and immoral acts asked of him in return. But even to set things right, he's forced to steal, bribe people, and perform other sordid acts.
Violence & Scariness
A woman is raped, though the act is suggested more than shown; viewers see her afterward, in the hospital, covered in cuts and bruises. Later, she's kidnapped and held at gunpoint. Minor characters are killed, smashed by cars, and fall from heights. Guns are drawn, and characters are shot. Some blood is shown. Lots of chases, in cars and on foot; also fights and punching -- a teacher punches a large, tough-looking teen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main couple has one sex scene in bed, under the covers. No nudity is shown, but there's kissing and thrusting.
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"F--k" is used about half a dozen times, and "s--t" is said a few times as well. Other words include "goddamn," "hell," and "bitch." "Jesus" is also used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some journalists are shown getting drunk at a colleague's memorial service. The main characters have glasses of wine with dinner (no drunkenness).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Seeking Justice is a "deal with the devil"-type paranoid thriller in which the main character tries to correct his mistake but can't trust anyone -- and resorts to plenty of illegal activities even while trying to make things "right." Violence includes a rape (which is more suggested than shown), as well as guns, fighting, some blood, and death. A teacher punches a large, tough-looking teen student in one scene. There's one quick but strongly suggestive sex scene (no nudity). Language isn't constant but includes several uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Minor characters are shown getting drunk. Except for die-hard Nicolas Cage fans, this movie will only spark a passing interest in most teens.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
New Orleans high school teacher Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is happily married to concert musician Laura (January Jones), until their lives are turned upside down the night Laura is raped. In the hospital, a mysterious man, Simon (Guy Pearce) approaches Will with an offer. Simon will catch and kill the rapist if Will agrees to repay the favor someday. Six months later, Will gets a call. A simple task -- mailing a letter -- quickly escalates into an order to kill a man. Will realizes that he can't do it, but his decision makes him an enemy of a very powerful and secret organization. His only hope is the mysterious hidden evidence collected by a dead journalist. Can Will find it -- and use it -- in time?
Is It Any Good?
Beginning with a good, simple idea, SEEKING JUSTICE would have played much better as a half-hour Twilight Zone episode, keeping the secret organization and the conspiracy a mystery. A much better feature-length movie might have more deeply explored the moral implications of Will's choice. But as it stands, veteran director Roger Donaldson and writers Todd Hickey and Robert Tannen instead turn Seeking Justice into a lengthy chase movie that grows ever more ludicrous.
For an exploration of a Faustian deal, Seeking Justice doesn't seem to care much about morals; it's not OK for the lead character to kill anyone, but it is OK for him to steal cars, bribe people, break and enter, and destroy property. That said, for at least half of the movie -- while the mystery is still mysterious -- Seeking Justice expertly provides certain tingles. Additionally, Cage has one of his best and most understated roles in some time, reminding us why he became a movie star in the first place.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Seeking Justice's violence. What's suggested, and what's actually shown? Which is more shocking?
What does a "Faustian" deal -- a "deal with the devil" -- mean? What were Will's choices? What are the consequences of each choice? What are some other examples of Faustian deals?
Simon's organization was seemingly designed to accomplish justice and stop crime when the police failed. Is this right or wrong? What's the difference between justice and law?
After the main character tries to set thing right again, he still steals and bribes people. Do the ends ever justify the means?
- In theaters: March 16, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: June 19, 2012
- Cast: Guy Pearce, January Jones, Nicolas Cage
- Director: Roger Donaldson
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language and brief sexuality
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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