Select Page

Film Review -Seeking Justice

Venue: Cine 4, Ster-Kinekor
Maerua Mall
Director: Roger Donaldson
Players: Nicholas Cage, Guy Pierce, January Jones
Genre: Thriller; action; suspense
Rating: ***

The main theme of this film is a popular one in current times in the Western world: an ordinary, decent citizen is pitted against powerful forces over which he has no control and is forced to change his mild-mannered personality to become a savage survivor. Will Gerard (Cage) is a modest English teacher at Rampart High School, where he waxes passionately about poetry and Shakespeare to college students who may be considered lacklustre to the point of indifference.  His wife, Laura, (Jones) is a musician with a local orchestra and goes for practice in the evenings.
The introductory scenes of Rampart High School are not comforting: students and staff are required to pass through high security surveillance equipment and frisked before they can enter the building. Gerard speaks flippantly of the machine that “rings and sings”.
On the surface the couple has a perfectly ordinary middle-class existence: working by day and meeting friends at night.  Then an incident occurs which changes everyone’s perspective: while Will is playing chess in a local pub with his friend and boss, Jimmy, Laura is playing with the orchestra.  Some clever cross-cutting, accompanied by the orchestral music which is being practised, cleverly builds up tension. While leaving the building, Laura is dogged, attacked and raped just after she has climbed into her car. The cross-cutting of the attack on Laura counterpoises her danger with Will, as he is losing the game of chess. ‘Checkmate’ from Jimmy is accompanied by crashing crescendos of violins.
The rape is the starting point for Will’s personal drama, as he sits for hours at his wife’s bedside or prowling hospital corridors. A perfect stranger introduces himself: “I am Simon’, an enigmatic, smartly-dressed character whose right-wing tendencies are characterised by his shaved head.  “I represent an organisation that deals with people,” he casually confides,” We are just a few people seeking justice.” Will initially responds to Simon’s proposal with an emphatic ‘No,” yet inexplicably, a few seconds later, he recalls Simon from the doorway to consider the proposal more seriously.
The proposal involves an offer to dispose of Laura’s assailant, allegedly a well-known rapist who has avoided capture and arrest.  Mild-mannered Will, irrational at that moment, welcomes the thought of someone else dirtying his hands with the kind of violence which he would like to do but is restrained by his nature and social upbringing. That is as much of the plot as may be divulged.
It is this kind of film that American producers and directors have perfected: the taut, suspenseful thriller where the plot is at times so complex that worrying about realistic consequences becomes impossible. The screenplay invariably devises a sane and ethical ending which satisfies all.  Part of the skill in this genre is the use of sound and skilful cinematography. Small details acquire symbolic significance. As Will makes his momentous decision and presses a candy machine for two bars of ‘Forever’ chocolate, the slow but inevitable fall of the bars from the rack is filmed with slow deliberation. A point is made.
The dramatic climax to the film takes place in a deserted shopping mall, one that has been closed for renovation swhich had never occurred. The human drama is played out against the sterile backdrop of empty escalators and faceless shops, with the slight suggestion of decay everywhere.
“The hungry rabbit jumps” is a mantra which recurs often. It is a signal of secret knowledge and bonding. The plot contains surprises because whichever way Will turns he is confronted by treachery and hypocrisy. The mantra actually suggests an idealistic and noble rationale for the secret organisation with which Will becomes embroiled: humanity; reason; justice. In practice, none of these values are in evidence.
Cage and Pierce are the actors which command centre stage in the film. Pierce, as Simon, is coldly convincing in his obsessional objectives. Cage as Gerard is competent, although the role does not provide him with scope to demonstrate his considerable talent as an actor.  The transition from the humanitarian English teacher to the hunted man, who must cheat death with his fast reaction time, is fairly convincing. After the chess game, Will’s friend Jimmy tells him that his chess technique is defective: he “plays not to lose” instead of ‘taking chances”.
There are decisions which are made on the spur of the moment which can have lifetime consequences. Most of us prefer to ignore them as we battle with the vicissitudes of existence.  Some decisions reap beneficial changes; some not.  Will Gerard maintains his personal code of values and does not deviate or capitulate to coercion.  The enemy within is a popular stereotype these days, whether these are represented by the American military-industrial complex or the Illuminati. We prefer to believe that everything is as it seems; we are uncomfortable with the notion that superficial appearance hides a more sinister truth. The powerlessness of the average citizen, however, is a common theme in films today and perhaps with good reason.  Only the bold take to the streets to protest injustice, whether this is inflicted by the state or by secret agents of which we are but dimly aware.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.