Fiction: Stuff similiar to "The Star Chamber"
March 12, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for works of fiction similar to the 1983 film The Star Chamber that stars Michael Douglas as an idealistic judge. Frustrated at having to dismiss the case against an obviously guilty criminal due to a legal technicality, Douglas' character is invited to join a secret group that offers a special type of vigilante justice. But what happens if they make a mistake?

I am looking for fiction of any form -- movies, books, TV episodes, short stories, etc.

The Star Chamber at IMDB

The Star Chamber at Wikipedia

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
posted by 99percentfake to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. (Don't read too much of the synopsis!)
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does something like TV's Dexter count? He's a serial killer who kills bad guys. Or are you looking for secret societies? Is it the vigilantism? What are you looking for in particular?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:10 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minority Report?
posted by humph at 9:18 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair point...how about things having MOST of these points?

*groups of at least two people
*operating in an unofficial capacity (not sanctioned law enforcement organizations)
*no personal connection to the situation (not the actual victim, family member, etc.)
*some kind of idealistic/justice motivation
*deliberating (not spur of the moment or ad hoc lynch mob)
posted by 99percentfake at 9:21 AM on March 12, 2013


Grant Morrison's comic series The Invisibles fits the bill.
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


These fit all of your criteria:

The X-Men
The Avengers
Justice League
The Superfriends
The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
posted by Tanizaki at 9:24 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Iain Banks' Complicity centres on someone killing establishment figures who doesn't meet their standards.

One of the Dirty Harry films "Magnum Force" concerns a group of cops fed up of criminals getting off on technicalities and who decide to do so something about it.
posted by biffa at 9:25 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Outlaw sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

Hitting most of your points is The Boondock Saints.
posted by ODiV at 9:34 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guilty as Charged is a dark comedy featuring Rod Steiger as a vigilante with his very own electric chair. It meets all of your stated requirements. It's not exactly a great film, though.
posted by dortmunder at 9:53 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The A Team? Knight Rider?
posted by GuyZero at 10:00 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The recently concluded TNT series Leverage fits the bill nicely. Timothy Hutton's character leads a group of criminals who rights wrongs that can't be corrected through the usual legal channels, often due to the wealth/power of the villians. Mostly light in tone with a good bit of humor. There is an intermittent arc involving a case with a personal tie to Hutton's character, but most of the episodes are as you describe.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:12 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The film Blackmail Is My Life is excellent, and in this vein. Blackmailers who pride themselves on having a code.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:17 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is a subplot in the third season of the 2004 Battlestar Galactica which fits most of your criteria, although it's a very small part of entire series.
posted by makeitso at 10:22 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brotherhood of Justice. TV movie from 1986 that had a lot of now-big-name stars, early in their career.
posted by jbickers at 10:34 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fight Club fits most of your criteria, although Tyler Durden is more of an autocrat.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:39 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Agatha Christie's And then there were none fits all but one of your criteria. (I found it an eminently forgettable read, though.) The short story ‘The Unprincipled affair of the Practical Joker’ by Dorothy L. Sayers also hits all but one of your points, I think. The criterion missing from both of them is ‘at least two people’ -- they are one-off bringing-to-justice projects rather than established vigilante groups.

I was about to write (in response to griphus) that The man who was Thursday doesn't really fit your criteria, but the more I think about it the more appropriate it seems. And it's a great book all round. (And yes, for goodness' sake stay away from potential spoilers!)
posted by pont at 11:04 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Global Frequency by Warren Ellis.

GF is a secret, worldwide group supposedly w/ 1,001 members. Experts in everything from physics, military, magic, espionage, law enforcement, faerie tales, you name it. Everyone has a comm-unit w/ the Frequency Logo on it. When shit pops off, the phone rings and you hear Aleph's voice, "You're on the Global Frequency"... Time to save the world again.

GF deals with all the problems that are too big (or too politically delicate) for governments to deal with publicly (or even acknowledge exist), but could still destroy the world (or at least a city). The rumor is that they're operations are funded by all the major governments who don't want their secrets exposed.

Favorite episode is one where someone gets the call and is told "There's a bomb across London." When she responds "I'm not a bomb expert!" she's told "No, but you know Parkour, and you're the only agent close enough. We'll guide you in..." Great stuff.

Also, there's a TV pilot. The forces of evil won and it was never picked up as a series. Boo.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:04 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've all forgotten the most obvious one: Edgar Wallace's The Four Just Men (1905), the novel that pioneered the pulp-fiction trope of the 'good vigilante'.
posted by verstegan at 11:58 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Outlaw w/ Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, and Bob Hoskins. Red band trailer
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:54 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Killer Elite - a group of former SAS members make up the "Star Chamber". It's based on a book called The Feather Men. The author says it's a true story, other people (SAS members) say it isn't.
posted by deborah at 1:45 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all of these answers. It is much appreciated.

• And then there were none - Agatha Christie
• Battlestar Galactica – small subplot in season three
• Blackmail Is My Life
• Brotherhood of Justice
• Complicity - Iain Banks
• Dexter – ?
• Fight Club
• Guilty as Charged
• Justice League
• Killer Elite (based on a book called The Feather Men)
• Knight Rider - ?
• Leverage - TNT series
• Magnum Force
• Minority Report - ?
• Outlaw
• The A Team - ?
• The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
• The Avengers
• The Boondock Saints
• The Four Just Men (1905) - Edgar Wallace
• The Global Frequency by Warren Ellis (and TV pilot)
• The Invisibles - Grant Morrison
• The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
• The Superfriends
• The Unprincipled affair of the Practical Joker by Dorothy L. Sayers
• The X-Men
posted by 99percentfake at 6:30 AM on March 14, 2013


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