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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Law Abiding Citizen’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


I mentioned a couple days ago, when I featured the trailer for Gamer, that it sounded like maybe Gerard Butler’s American accent had improved dramatically over its dreadfulness in The Ugly Truth. And here we can tell that yes, he’s been working with a voice coach or something, because he no longer sounds quite like someone who’s trying to ape an American accent, and more like an actual American.

I don’t mean to pick on Butler, because I’m a big fan of his. And certainly the terribleness of his accent was the least terrible thing about The Ugly Truth, which is why I didn’t even mention it in my review. It did surprise me, though, because generally British actors seem to have a much better ear for accents than American ones do… though I guess it’s fair that if there are gonna be a few American actors who can do a credible British accent (Kevin Kline, Alessandro Nivolo), there should be a few British ones who can’t sound American if their lives depended on it.

The much bigger issue probably is: Why are so many British (and Australian) actors ending up playing American characters in the movies (and on TV)? Twenty years ago, it might have been Bruce Willis or Kurt Russell playing the part that Butler plays here. But I’m hard-pressed to name a big-name American film actor of Butler’s age who could pull off a tough guy like this today. The big names that pop to mind are Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale… but they’re not American.

Americans? Maybe Brad Pitt could pull it off. Maybe Liev Schreiber. Maybe Jamie Foxx… except he’s already here in another role. Maybe Christopher Meloni… except he’s a TV actor and we have this stupid divide in the U.S. that mostly keeps actors corralled into one medium.

Oh, the movie itself? More revenge fantasy: hooray!

Law Abiding Citizen opens in the U.S. on October 16, and in the U.K. on November 4.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • LaSargenta

    This trailer was shown before Distric 9 and was one of the ones that wasn’t obviously torture porn…although it seems like there is more than a nod in that direction here.

    I don’t think that “maybe” belongs in front of Liev Schreiber’s name as a candidate for this role. He would have chewed it up and spit it out. I think any good actor would do this role just fine, including some who are probably off the radar quite a bit. Personally, I’d have no problem seeing Danny Hoch in this role even though this movie is the complete and utter opposite of his metier.

    They could have put Will Smith in there, too, as he’s …but then the Gods of the Hollywood Machine would have wanted someone else who wasn’t black for Foxx’s role.

  • LaSargenta

    Whoops. That last paragraph should have read “…too, as he’s currently the best US action hero out there…” (I’m thinking of I Am Legend and Hancock.)

  • Pollas

    I’m on the line when it comes to this movie. The trailer is good, but it looks like the movie could go either way. Love that last image in the trailer, though.

  • MaryAnn

    I think any good actor would do this role just fine

    I can’t see that. It takes more than talent — it takes a certain attitude and physical presence. I mean, Tobey Maguire is a fantastic actor, but I don’t see him pulling off this kind of role. I don’t see Sam Rockwell making this work. I don’t think Johnny Depp could do it.

    It’s also not just about being a really good actor: a movie like this doesn’t get made for mainstream consumption unless there’s a big name attached. So whoever the hell Danny Hoch is, however talented he is, he wouldn’t be cast in a movie like this.

  • david

    It looks like it might not be a revenge flick so much as a subversion of the revenge flick. At first it seems like we are meant to identify with Butler’s character but then it seems to show him as a psychotic madman. Hopefully, the movie will actually turn out to be an indictment of revenge fantasies and Gerard Butler’s character will not get away with his crimes.

  • Ken

    This…Is…Spar-taaaaa!

  • sam

    Nathan Fillion is American, right? I’d love to see him play a real badass. Edward Norton also plays good tough guys, and he’s definitely American.

  • Jolly

    Good ol’ Edmonton, where, like any good American town, Hockey is King and a handful of elected politicians are proud socialists.

  • Mo

    Viggo Mortensen! Josh Holloway!

    The problem is, Americans tend to assume that being pretty is more important than acting if you want to make it in Hollywood, so all the pretty boys try while the really amazing ones who could pull that off stay away.

    Internationally actors have to make it at home and focus on actual acting so that by the time they do get noticed, they’re already experienced and stand out from the American pretty boy wallpaper.

  • At first it seems like we are meant to identify with Butler’s character but then it seems to show him as a psychotic madman. Hopefully, the movie will actually turn out to be an indictment of revenge fantasies and Gerard Butler’s character will not get away with his crimes.

    Because of course that has never been done before. :-)

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