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- The Pledge
- Runtime:124 min
- Release Date:2014-03-21 12:27:23
- Director: Sean Penn
- Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
MOVIE REVIEW:The Pledge
A grisly child molestation/murder case in western Nevada sends a
recently retired cop with a long memory on an obsessive hunt for the
elusive killer. In outline it sounds like yet another Thomas Harris
('Silence of the Lambs') retread, but the film is more a character
study than a criminal investigation, with a meaty star role for Jack
Nicholson, proving yet again that with a halfway decent script he can
still be one of the more compelling performers on this planet.
But this isn't by any means a one-man show: alongside Nicholson is an
astonishing surplus of supporting talent, including Benicio Del Toro,
Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Harry Dean Stanton, Sam Shepard, Mickey
Roarke, and Robin Wright Penn, most of them generously allowed their
own brief share of the limelight, typically in one scene each alone
with Jack. The dream cast is either an indication of how desperate some
actors are for a demanding screenplay, or else it's a mark of respect
toward one of their own clan (Sean Penn) turned director.
The film is top heavy with sometimes distracting stylistic touches of a
sort only an actor-director would indulge in, and like too many
big-screen movies has one eye aimed prematurely toward the home
entertainment market, with lots of TV screen filling close-ups and so
forth. But the pace is effectively moody and slow, building up
considerable tension (almost approaching something closer to
white-knuckle dread) before the tragic and (perhaps too) downbeat
ending. The R-rating is earned by some truly gruesome murder details,
vividly depicted in the otherwise typically handsome cinematography by
ace DP Chris Menges.
Truly one of the most awful and unworthy film adaptations i have ever
had the displeasure to have watched. The character assassination and
quasi-storyline that took place before my very eyes whilst watching the
film completely beggared belief, and this was strongly juxtaposed to
the depth and wistfulness of the words that not only jumped from every
page of Dürrenmatt's book, showing not only an empathy for both
protagonist and victim, but weaving such a web of intrigue that even a
seasoned reader of any crime genre couldn't possibly have seen the
'double' twist at the end. The book itself is a pure work of fictional
genius and only one pertinent question entered my mind as the final
credits started to roll…….had Sean Penn actually read it??
The premise of this movie was good. A cop, Jack Nichols retires but
made a pledge to find the killer of a little girl that was murdered a
while back. He is haunted by it and made fun of by fellow officers.
Jack goes off into the country and buys a local store near where the
little girl got killed. He has a drawing she made of a tall man in a
dark suit giving her something that looks like pine cones. Jack comes
to think this is the man that killed her and other children by getting
close to them and offering them gifts.
Jack befriends barmaid and her young daughter. He is very protective of
the child. He finds out that she has been given little cookies from a
man that tells her he is a wizard and not to tell anyone. Jack gets the
police to keep track of this girl and they are on a stake out by the
river where she is to meet the wizard. The police feel he is wrong and
they leave the scene of where they were watching the girl. Jack is
disappointed, he knows something is up and the killer will be coming.
He starts acting nuts. He is a good actor but I felt like he over-acted
in playing this troubled policeman.
I watched to the end. I guess I am used to movies with a good or
satisfactory conclusion and all ends well. This was not the case. Very
disappointing ending but then again Sean Penn is the director and I
don't think he has all his marbles anyway.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I understand why so many people dislike "The Pledge", the ending was
(SPOILER ALERT) a ripoff, and the "all-star cast" feel just isn't. But
personally, I liked it. Jack Nicholson is in it, how bad can it be?
Nicholson plays a retiring detective who gets stuck on the case of the
mysterious murder of a young girl. While we initially believe it's
Benny Del Toro, it probably wasn't, and Jack goes crazy trying to find
The reason I bought this was because it had so many juicy names on the
cover (Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Sam Shepard, all beside Jack
Nicholson? Too good to be true…) But Sean Penn ripped us off, as each
of these actors' performances are about three or four minutes each.
(The only exception is Robin Wright Penn.) The ending is a complete
ripoff, and was a major disappointment to the story. The story itself,
which was beautifully worked up, was enthralling, and kept me guessing
on who the killer might be. But no, (SPOILER ALERT) we never find out.
I'm doing a lot of complaining for my eight star review, so here's what
I liked; Acting was grade A. Those three minute performances are well
placed. We have Nicholson in one of his best performances, but I
thought Tom Noonan did a great job as Gary Jackson, the preacher.
All in all, decent movie. But maybe just stop watching right when you
see the car driving towards Jerry and Chrissie, and make up the ending
you thought of during the film.
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