Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|All the King's Men |
Actors: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Steven Zaillian
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Anthony Hopkins star in this riveting story of a humble man?s rise to political power and the destructive force of corruption and betrayal that would ultimately unravel his soul, base... more »
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El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Judgment is frequently tainted by expectation, and clearly, high expectations caused many viewers to mug this splendid movie, or simply miss what makes it great. The problem, of course, is the iconic nature of the source material. The life of Huey "Kingfish" Long, Governor of Louisiana and radical populist, (to say nothing of power-mad, corrupt manipulator), provides its foundation. Long was real Americana, a self-described "hick" that rose to power by speaking for the disenfranchised. The Robert Penn Warren novel, source of the story itself, is a classic, and easily one of the best political sagas in American literature. Unoccupied mansions, bald cypress swamps, and sweltering Louisiana summer nights evoke a prototypical sense of decadence and corruption; beautifully mirroring this tale of moral decay. Add an all-star cast and it's easy to see why audiences arrived at the theatre expecting The Bicycle Thief, or La Strada.
Sean Penn, as Stark - based on Long - is a difficult individual. Like many actors, thinking is his enemy. One has only to watch the appalling Into The Wild, which he directed, to understand this. When Penn thinks, he immediately jumps on a soapbox and grabs a bullhorn, so he can share his half-baked ideology with the masses. This was my greatest fear about ATKM, that Penn would use it as a "tutorial." Happily, he resists this impulse and simply disappears into the part, making it thoroughly believable. And boy does he have help! The amazing cast includes Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Particia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, and Kathy Baker - Baker is exceptional. The film does what films do best; it takes you to another place and time, depositing you in front of Town Hall to fend for yourself. Wonderful.
The story is told from the perspective of the Jude Law character, Jack Burden. Jack is an observer, one foot in, one foot out. His conflict, his torture, is the heart of this film. Alcoholism and despair make it possible for him to pretend he hasn't made a choice; that he is simply sitting on a fence. But everyone in this film is somewhere on the moral spectrum, even Stark is not entirely bad and Judge Irwin is not entirely good. It is the moral complexity of living in a gray world that sets these people adrift, and they are drawn into painful places. Law, a consistently underrated actor, is excellent throughout, as is Mark Ruffalo who wears his moral oblivion like an overcoat. "If you don't vote, you don't matter," says Stark, and he's right. Haunting words when one considers that even today very few Americans go to the trouble of picking their leaders.
An exceptionally well-made film with themes that never go out of style. Highly recommended."
Overpenned and outlawed
H. Schneider | window seat | 01/08/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I think the responsibility for this failure lies with mainly 3 people.
First of all, Sean Penn, whom I respect as a great actor (e.g. Mystic River, 21 Grams), but not in this terrible performance. His portrait of a populist demagogue is just too much over the top towards a caricature of Chaplin's great dictator.
Second, the script writer. It can not be that easy to foul up an essentially good story so badly. There is no narrative drive.
Third, this must be Jude Law's worst film ever. He is not an obvious miscast, one can initially believe his character, the young man from an elite background and his mutual attraction with the vulgar politician. But in the course of the plot, the motivation of his character loses ground, and Law is at a loss for adequate facial expressions. He makes a mess of it.
Hopkins and Winslet are doing fine, but why are 3 English actors needed for a Louisiana story?"
What happened to the finished movie?
Mykal Banta | Boynton Beach, FL USA | 01/02/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film had something very special going for it with its central casting of Sean Penn as Huey Long, the Kingfisher, the everyman governor of depression-era Louisiana (Willie Stark in the film). If ever there was a role designed for Penn's heated and emotive style of acting, this was it. True to that promise, Penn delivers a few (too few) wonderful scenes with Willie Stark delivering fire and brimstone from the campaign stump.
Other than these scenes, the film is an unformed washout. Willie Stark's transformation from righteous, wife loving common man to manipulative, self-serving adulterous political schemer is . . . . well there really is no transformation. It simply happens between scenes off camera, rendering a potentially fascinating character, rich with comment about the fallibility of human nature, into a black and white, boring nothing.
The film sort of meanders around with the character of reporter Jack Burden (played by the desperately miscast Jude Law)and his exceptionally average family story, which somehow includes lover Anne Stanton (played by the desperately miscast Kate Winslet) and her brother Adam Stanton, played by Mark Ruffalo (who was at least well cast but left hanging in limbo by some very lazy scriptwriting). On board also is the very talanted James Gandolfini, who must have owed someone a very big favor. I challenge anyone to explain to me what he was doing in this bumbling, mumbling role, so far beneath his station. All in all, I was left wondering how any of the principals managed to convince themselves the product was release-ready when watching the final edit.
Final note to Hollywood: let's strike a deal with England: From this day forth, no cross-accenting. Americans shall not play Brits; Brits shall not play Americans (particularly southerners). I think this simple piece of legislation would do wonders in maintaining good relations with that isle across the pond. Lord have mercy it was painful watching Mr. Law and Ms. Winslet giving it their best. All British actors use the exact same accent for anyone "southern"; a kind of a generic mish mash of drawl: all at once from everywhere and nowhere.
One finally final note: is it just me or does Jude Law seem a little less like the real thing with each role?
Not even slightly recommended. -Mykal Banta
"If you don't vote--you don't matter"
R. Kyle | USA | 03/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""All the King's Men" is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Robert Penn Warren. Warren, who shifted from poetry to prose to write this novel, got his inspiration from the Populist Louisiana politician, Huey Long.
The film, based on a screenplay by Steve Zaillian, is also based in Louisiana. The politician, Willie Stark (Penn), runs a parallel course to Long's illustrious career. He started out meaning well and his interest was always in the common man, 'hicks' like him. The story is narrated by newspaper reporter, Jack Burden (Law) who works for Sparks.
There's a lot of strong messages in "All the King's Men." You can watch it from the perspective of a soap opera, a parallel to contemporary politics (the discussion of the oil companies' influence, for example) or an Ivory Tower comparison to Machiavelli.
This film could have been great, had they decided a few aspects differently. To quote the film itself: "You only get a couple of moments that determine your life. Sometimes only one. And then it's gone. Forever." Probably the worst decision the directors made was changing the timeframe the film is set in. If you ignore that the film's set twenty years past Long's time, it works a lot better. I don't agree with the decision that the 50's are interchangeable historically with the 30's."