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Seeking Justice

In: Film and Music

Submitted By paulby1369
Words 1560
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Running Head: JUSTICE 1

Seeking Justice: A Film Critique
Paul J Baker Jr
ENG 225
Instructor: Hope Umansky

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A film is a marvelous piece of art to the one who creates it. The story and plot that is told can have some profound meanings and sometimes portray things that we wish would happen. Actors come and go but sometimes they reach the level of a star. Nicholas Cage is one such star. We remember his past works in movies like Faceoff, Gone in 60 Seconds, and National Treasure. These films show this actor as an action star. You can never know if the character he is playing is going to be good or bad. However in recent years critics have stated that Cage has been lost. Performing in movies like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice has appeared that Cage was searching for something. They have wrote him off as the action star that he was but in a triumphant return in 2011, the movie Seeking Justice showed that Cage is still who we remember. This movie, because of its actors, plot, cinemaphotography, and direction bring back the action thrillers that we have been longing for. Seeking Justice is one of the best films made in 2011.
“The screenplay has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the mind of someone who wants nothing more than to tell a story. After all, without a story, Indiana Jones doesn’t recover the Ark of the Covenant, E.T. never phones home, and Batman never catches the Joker. Every movie, from the biggest, loudest, most explosive blockbuster to the most–intimate independent film, begins with a story. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 2.1)” The story must have a reason. Why is this story being told to us? The entire movie contains the story but what is important to the story are the things that are taking place. “If story is what happens in a movie, the plot is HOW it happens. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 2.3)” the plot of Seeking Justice is somewhat twisted and we see the main character (Cage) as a man who chooses to have justice without waiting for the police and legal systems to work. This choice leads him down a
Justice 3 road that involves some shady people and returning the favor for them. They call upon him to take the life of another human, a proposed sex offender, and the score will be even. The main character has a difficult time completing what they have asked. He is morally torn and does not want to do it but after the secret society begins to threaten his wife he begin to comply. Although he has begun to follow through with the plans he is not out of the water yet. They now place a target on him and attempt to eliminate him. As he tries to elude this organization, and find the research of a journalist, he learns that even his own best friend is part of the problem. The end of movie evens comes with a surprise when the research is handed over to one of the journalists’ friends and the main character is dumbfounded to learn that this guy is also part of the organization. How deep does the rabbit hole really go? The plot of this movie is very entertaining and leaves you with a feeling of uncertainty. Every twist and turn seems like this might be the end but we are continually left with the thought; will this ever end. We never truly know what is going to happen next. The plot is well thought out and arranged. There are very important things that happen in this plot. The writer of this screen play really thought through what they wanted to happen and what was actually needed to make the story come alive. It’s all the little things that they have accomplished but not ever including unimportant things in the plot. There is action but not to much. The plot contains items both mental and physical that keep the suspense up. Such a well thought out plot keeps you tied into the movie and never bored
“The tone of the film is established from the opening frames. They are what is in the scene. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 4.1)” Seeking Justice is set in the city. The scenes are
Justice 4 all home and street scenes. We can clearly tell that we are in a large city. In some of the opening scenes we can see that Marti gra celebrations are happening which lets us know that we are in the city of New Orleans. There are some scenes that are repeated but they are important places like the characters home. We have city streets, city schools and public transportation. Not to mention the police departments. All the parts of the city that we know and think about as everyday city life. The complexity of the secret organization goes much deeper than we can even comprehend. The lighting used in this movie depicts some very gloomy weather. This dark a dreary look adds to the mood of what is happening. “Whereas mise en scène is WHAT we see in a scene, the cinematography determines exactly HOW we see it. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 4.2)” This movie uses low key lighting and three point lighting to design the mood that we feel. The lighting used here is absolutely perfect. The small changes in light throughout the film are a great addition to the story. Never in this film can you find a bright sun filled day. The lighting by itself allows for you to feel the sense of despair in the character. There are many different type of camera shots and most of them are used in this movie. Long shots set up the location of each shot that we see and close ups show us the struggle that the main character is having. The camera work in this film almost tells you the story. If this movie had no sound you could tell by the camera work what was happening. The detail addressed with the main character is awesome. You can almost at times see the lines of despair on his face.

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The sound of a movie is more than what we hear. “The three basic categories of film sound—dialogue, sound effects, and music—require careful balancing to serve the story; because of this, each category is typically recorded separately and mixed together during the final editing process. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 6.4)” this movie has all three of these types of sound categories. The music in the background can almost cause us to expect that something is going to happen and the dialogue is good. Without the dialogue we would not have a clear understanding as to what is happening. The sound eliminates the wrong interpretation. The music that plays leading up to the action and the music during the action adds to the intensity of the scenes. The score is well delivered. The choices that were made for Seeking Justice were wise and well played. The Dialogue is very deep and intense at times. The simple fact is that no matter where the main character goes or who he talks with he finds that he cannot escape this secret society. The dialogue causes you to anticipate what is going to happen next and you can clearly see that the characters are reading into what is being said. This dialogue shows us that what we hear is only words and anyone can be telling us exactly what we want to hear and not the full truth.
“Movies have had an impact on society since they began. While one can debate whether films influence society or society influences films, the more likely answer is that each influences the other. (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011 sec 9 summary)” The movie seeking justice has a deep underlying tone. In society we all at times have been fed up with the legal system and the process involved bringing one to justice. This movie depicts what may happen if we begin to

Justice 6 handle these matters on our own. The choice for instant justice is not always a good choice. The control can lead to abuse and loss of control over doing what we think is right.
In conclusion the movie Seeking Justice is a great movie. The actors used in this film were absolutely the right choice for the parts. The plot is entertaining and suspenseful. The cinema photography is right on point and allows the viewers to see what needs to be seen. The lighting is excellent and adds to the overall feel of the movie. Most importantly the movie addresses the deep underlying thought of society that instant justice is what we need. All of this combined makes for a very good action packed thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. In comparison to other movies made around the same time, Seeking Justice is the best choice.

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Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Seeking Justice, 2011, Todd Hickey & Robert Tannen. Anchor Bay Films.

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