“Does doing things the legal way really work better?”
Marauders is a battle of good guys and bad guys, but with characters who keep changing sides. The film opens with a surgically efficient bank robbery. FBI agent Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) leads a team of agents, including Wells (Adrian Grenier), a newbie fresh from Quantico. The investigation is aided or hindered by Detective Mims (Johnathon Schaech), a bad cop from the local police. When the gang hits again, it is obvious they are targeting Hubert National Bank. Hubert (Bruce Willis) seems uncooperative and even hostile to the investigations. As bits of information trickle in, it appears there may be various conspiracies being played out on both sides of the law. Is the murderous gang really trying to do something good by leading the FBI to bigger criminals? If so, does that justify what they are doing?
The film works at some level as a thriller, but never really achieves a satisfactory level for that genre. The film tries to give some depth to some of the character (for example, Montgomery’s wife was killed by a drug kingpin, Mims’s wife is dying of cancer), but in reality everything seems pretty one dimensional—which doesn’t help with the twists the plot wants to take. For the most part everyone stays within their stereotype, even when the times of repentance or choosing to sin come.
There is a brief theological discussion at just about the halfway point in the film. That discussion between the leader of the gang and Montgomery focuses on the question of whether belief in God boils down to a question of where you want to go when you die. The line comes up, “I’ll go to hell so someone else can go to heaven.” What I found interesting about this is that I saw another film this week (The Innocents) in which a character says, “I damned myself to save you.” The concept of sacrifice to save another may well be worth considering. (And that is the case in The Innocents.) However, the way it works in Marauders has no salvation or redemption associated with it. Here it reflects choosing to do something wrong because it gives the characters involved a feeling of their own redemption at the cost of others. But in the end it really only makes the characters involved less virtuous than they think they are being.
Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Premiere