Justice

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Memento & Law Abiding Citizen

I recently watched both of these films, and I am really interested in how they might relate to each other, and what they say about individual justice. Both films involve a dark, complicated, rather twisted pursuit of revenge by someone whose wife was murdered and is failed by the law. In Law Abiding Citizen, the protagonist is brilliant, analytical, and always miles ahead of everyone else, until the last scene. However, in Memento, you pity the protagonist, because he seems very helpless and manipulated by those around him, until the very last scene, where he asserts his autonomy. It would also be interesting to look at how favorably the film portrays each man’s brutal pursuit of justice, whether in how disturbing the inciting moment is, or how sympathetic their character is. To what extent is this personal pursuit of justice permissible, or even admirable? What does it do to the people who try to carry it out?

  • Very interesting. You could also look at how the performances of Gerard Butler and Guy Pearce are so interestingly differentiated, Butler's more overt and scheming approach that's gradually brought down by the efforts of Jamie Foxx's character grounding him in the harsh reality of the world, whereas Pearce's enigma is constantly on the move and confusing the viewer, playing on our sympathies before ruthlessly tearing them all to shreds in that final scene. – CalvinLaw 5 years ago
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  • It is interesting how at the end of Memento it is no longer about revenge for Leonard, but about the possibility of meaning. Memento reveals how essential memory is to identity. – JLaurenceCohen 5 years ago
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