Steve T. from FAIRFIELD, PA Reviewed on 10/22/2017...
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
C.E. M. from CATAULA, GA Reviewed on 8/2/2013...
This movie was well made and very entertaining. I have always been a Gandolfini fan, and after his death, I was looking for movies that he played in. I loved Redford in Bruebaker, and thought I would try The Last Castle. To me, I would rank it at 5 stars.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Carolyn A. (milkmaid) from GAINESVILLE, MO Reviewed on 12/26/2010...
cool action movie with a great ending.....very entertaining
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Duane S. (superpoet) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 2/25/2008...
WE have seen this over and over and enjoyed it every time. Robert Redford is the quintessential hero in this story chronicling the cruel and sadistic behavior of a prison warden. The cast of extras and smaller roles is superb.
6 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
Totally absorbing with fast moving plot
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 06/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film stars Robert Redford as a 3-star general who has been stripped of his rank and sent to a military prison run by James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos" fame. From the beginning there is conflict between the two men as Redford views Gandolfini as a tin soldier who has never been in real battles. As the film goes on, we see Gandolfini as nothing short of a sadist who punishes the men severely for every infraction of his silly rules. The story moves fast and the audience identifies with the plight of the men who have lost their pride in being soldiers. Redford orchestrates psychological strategies to rattle Gandolfini as well as armed conflict. The plot moves so fast and is so involving that I got totally absorbed in the film, rooting for the prisoners as they fought for dignity under Gandolfini's heavy hand.Redford is a good actor and played his part well. He has lines in his face, which make him look real. James Gandolfini is magnificent and shows the range of his acting skills because the role called for a complex and nuanced performance. As I was watching the film, I was so caught up in the story that there was no time to think about the holes in the plot. By the next morning though I felt it was all rather contrived and silly.I was impressed by the clarity of the DVD picture and the extras at the end of the film, such as the director's voice-over as we watched scenes that had been cut. All this added to my viewing enjoyment. As for the film itself, it will appeal to those who, like me, enjoy war movies. Don't expect to cry and don't expect to laugh. There's high drama in the film, but it doesn't go to the heart. But I do find it enjoyable to just sit back, relax, and let the film take me where it wants."
"The Last Castle" is action-packed and emotional!!
Nicholas Williams | Memphis, TN United States | 01/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Last Castle" is among one of the best prison dramas that I have ever seen since...ever! It is so thrilling, so entertaining that you would have to see it again and again! And Robert Redford's performance just couldn't be better! "The Last Castle" focuses on General Eugene Irwin (Redford) a three-star general who is being sent to a military prison for defying a presidential order, but did so heroically. There, he meets Colonel Winter (an excellent James Gandolfini), who has the utmost amount of respect for the general. Winter is a man who has never seen combat, and when Irwin sneeks a peek at Winter's battlefield memorabilia, that's when we know that they won't be seeing eye to eye for a long time. The other inmates, among them are Mark Ruffalo as the prison booky, Yates, decide to go to the general about the treatment of the prison. And that's when the real war begins! General Irwin rallied up the other prisoners into taking over the prison as a result of protesting the sadistic colonel/warden's abuse of his power. In a way, it's World War III...but inside of a prison! "The Last Castle" has it all, action, drama, great storytelling, and a top-notch cast that's hard to beat! This is a DVD must-own to your collection! Truly one of the best Robert Redford movies ever!"
A Prison Drama We Have Seen Before, But Still Engaging
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 12/02/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Director Rod Lurie's follow-up of "The Contender" raises his patriotic tone higher than before, and gives an intriguging setting of the film, but as he did before, sacrifices its potentially complex nature of patriotism. Instead of making full use of the interesting situation, "The Last Castle" goes in a very familar territory where many previous prison dramas have treaded before. But ... here's an irony ... the film is very engaging and entertaining as the latter. Robert Redford is General Irwin (and three-star general), who disobeyed a direct order from the President and was found guilty at court marshal. Irwin, now stripped of his honor, is sent to the prison where Col. Winter (James Gandolfini) maneges with strict rules. At first, Irwin was thinking of nothing but "doing time, and going home," dreaming of the day (ten years ahead) when he can play chess with his still unseen grandson. But the situation around him, which is so severe for some inmates of the prison, wakes up something in Irwin: his anger against injustice. With his leadership, the convicted men, once deprived of pride, now believe that he is the man to rely on, and start to follow him.In 1980, Robert Redford was in a similar (but with a totally diffrent tone) film called "Brubaker." If you remember that, or have the fresh memory of "Shawshank" and many other dramas set in prison, it is not hard for you to guess the development of the story. I must say here that for all its predictable plot, "The Last Castle" never fails to grab your attention. After all, Redford is always good at playing this type of hero, and Gandolfini supplies us exactly the kind of man who should be despised and ridiculed. Delroy Lindo's cameo gives a fresh air at the right moment, and you also got an uncredited appearance of one famous actress R.W. (or R.W.P.) as Irwin's daughter.However, some might find problems right with those things -- Redford did too many roles like this in the past back from the 1970s, and he can do it while sleeping. Gandolfini pumps up his acting, and probably that is suitable for this kind of person, but if you have seen "The Mexican" (and yes, "The Sopranos") you know he can do it better than that, and could have shown more complicated side of the character. Inexplicably, Col. Winter seems to have his say at some moment (when he talks about his predecessor), but he is not allowed to do that. That is manipulating, some might say, considering the difficult nature of his job at prison. I agree with them.There are even swell action scenes; there is a character who you judge soon is going to get killed, and you judge it right. There are many elements we find in prison dramas, and if you complain them, you will dislike the film. Your complaint is justified; only, you just have to forget it, to enjoy the drama which is in itself very gripping. But talking about the "waving flag," I just don't think that the US military system needs drastic events of this magnitude.See this one as a good textbook about the quality of leadership, and as an absorbing tale of men and their pride. As such "The Last Castle" should be seen."
Touching Story of Human Dignity
Maximillian Ben Hanan | Sacramento, California, USA | 05/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Last Castle" is a novel about the inherent value of human life. Even the worst of prisoners and other undesirables are still human beings and if we look deep enough, we can find nobility and value in them too. I enjoyed this film and its' message.The story's plot revolves around a remarkable man, Lieutenant General Eugene Erwin played by Robert Redford, and his sentencing to a ten-year prison sentence at a military prison for a crime unmentioned until later in the film. As Erwin is brought to prison, we meet the leading antagonist, Colonel Winter, played by James Gandolfini, a quiet soft-spoken man and the prison warden whose personality seems to be much deeper than his civilized exterior. After Erwin and Winters meet some ten minutes or so into the movie, we can see that the rest of the film will be about a test of wills between the two.The film's climax culminates in the prisoners staging an overthrow of Colonel Winter and his guards by the prisoners led by Erwin. The director really thought up some innovative ideas for how prisoners might deal with helicopters, riot cars with hydraulic hoses, and guard towers. Many of the other reviewers wrote that they thought the prisoners' solutions to the helicopters, riot cars with hydraulic hoses, and guard towers were a bit far fetched. I don't agree and found everything plausible if not very likely. The prisoners use food trays as shields like Roman Legionnaires in Tetsudo formation (a solid line of shields) to protect themselves from the water cannon on the riot car and some of the prisoners crawl under the building and cut off the water main feeding the water cannon. They then use the water cannon to shoot a grappling hook attached to a chain, which entangles the helicopter's landing skids. Even better, then a prisoner, who is also a helicopter pilot, shimmies up the chain and overpowers the helicopter pilot. See what I mean about plausible but farfetched? Meanwhile the prisoners have built a trebuchet (a gravity catapult) and are using rubber medical hose to lob bags of flammables at the guard towers. I got a particular chuckle out of this one since I remember engineering students at university hooking gigantic piece of rubber medical hose between two antennas on our dorm's roof to hurl water balloons at an opposing dorm. I can definitely vouch that rubber medical hose works fine for lobbing things great distances. However, the crown jewel of the film is Redford's portrayal of General Erwin. Redford gives Erwin a force of character and a determination that makes it hard not to like him. He's very believable as a general. The film also relates that Erwin is a former POW and Vietnam veteran. Redford's lines about the experience correspond with every novel I've read about the POW experience in Vietnam. Once again, Redfrod's performance rang true. A minor subtheme for the film is chess and all of Erwin's moves are related to a chess game including the eventual overthrow of the prison. One reviewer wrote that Erwin was just as much a manipulator as Gandolfini's Colonel Winters and to this point I disagree. Erwin portrays a general who leads men by example and respect. This is called leadership and has nothing to do with manipulation. A general leads men to accomplish a task that he or she may or may not agree with. A manipulator USES men to accomplish tasks for the manipulator's own ends. There is a strong difference between the two. I highly recommend this excellent drama.Review by: Maximillian Ben Hanan"
Redford is Back!!
firstname.lastname@example.org | Atlanta, GA | 10/21/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Why can't there be more actors like Robert Redford? The answer: there is only one Robert Redford. Why see The Last Castle? The answer: Because this is exactly the type of film where Redford shines.Redford plays a three star general who is sent to a military prison for disobeying, though heroically doing so, an executive order. When he arrives at the prison he is greeted by James Gandolfini, the colonel in charge of the prison, who seems to be in awe of his new inmate. They go over the rules and then Gandolfini over hears Redford taking a shot at his battlefield memorabilia colllection and it becomes evident these two men might not see eye to eye for very long. Almost right away the prisoners start coming to Redford and complaining of mistreatment by the colonel, but Redford says his fighting days are over. However after an incident involing a young marine Redford starts to see what the men are talking about. When the tension starts to mount it becomes clear this prison, or castle, is not big enough for the colonel and the general.The Last Castle is a very entertaining movie. After I saw it I felt like it left to many questions in the plot unanwered, but I hardly was asking myself these questions while I was watching the film. The acting in this film is the best part. General Irwin was custom made for Redford. Any Redford fan can see this is the classic Redford we love. James Gandolfini was very impressive as the colonel, and Clifton Collins Jr. also did a nice turn as Agulara. For anyone who has not seen You Can Count On Me, Mark Ruffalo, who plays the prison booky, Yates, is a young actor of enormous promise. The plot in this film had a lot of holes, but Rob Lurie (The Contender) did a very nice job filling them in. This film was well shot and well directed, Lurie can tell a story. I really got a feel for the mens confinement in the prison.I think it is worth watching for Redford alone, but this is a solid film worth seeing."