THE SUSPECT CONFESSED TO THE MURDER, THEN TOOK HIS OWN LIFE.CASE CLOSED? NOT FOR HOMICIDE COP JERRY BLACK. HE HAS HIS OWN INSTINCTS ABOUT THE CRIME. AND EVEN THOUGH HE'S READY TO BEGINA GONE-FISHIN' RETIREMENT, HE PROMISED... more » THE VICTIM'S FAMILY HE'D FIND THE KILLER.« less
Dorothy M. from FEDERAL WAY, WA Reviewed on 7/25/2018...
I am not usually a Jack Nicholson fan, but he did a great job with this role. The storyline is believable and the acting is Oscar-worthy. The ending is not the usual American happily every after. Sean Penn is a superb director.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 11/12/2012...
Enough has already been said regarding Nicholson's performance and amazing talent that I don't feel it needed to copy them but this is one special film that deserves to be praised and watched by all who appreciate the gift of love and of having someone as special and caring as Jack Nicholson's character is in this movie! Benicio Del Toro's character is amazingly frightening and obviously innocent (at least of this crime) from the start but just another victim in a society that has become increasingly violent! I would have liked to see more of Mickey Roarke and Harry Dean Stanton but overall it is a moving and very memorable movie!
Jimmie D. (Starbuck) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 8/11/2010...
This is a brilliant and stunning movie that put Sean Penn in the big leagues of directors. His pal Jack Nicholson delivers one of his best performances. Just check out the cast -- major league at every position. Revealing is the presence of Benicio Del Toro in a role that probably lasts no more than 10 minutes. But it is a crucial role, and he also delivers the goods. Robin Wright-Penn has seldom been better. Don't go here for your usual thriller with lots of fireworks and neat plots that get tied up in bows. This is for people who prefer to think and to feel -- why Nicholson's character has to risk even the life of child of the woman he loves and that woman's love for a pledge he can not break.
Tim D. (tim) from HUNTINGTON, MA Reviewed on 9/23/2009...
i was into this movie all the way through but the was very anti climactic i mean cmon a car accident stops the movie it its path and pretty much stopped my interest in the movie as well. i really wanted something to happen other than a car accident. we never found out what he looks like or who he was or what jack wouldve done to him or he wouldve done to the girl he just gets in a car accident they might as well of had him sprain his ankle in a basketball game and not be able to make it to his appointment.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sandra S. (ratracesandra) from CUMMING, GA Reviewed on 5/11/2009...
Retiring cop keeps his word to find the killer of a young girl. Story is heart wrenching...
Carla W. (Perky) from ROCK, WV Reviewed on 4/20/2009...
Very strange even for jack nicholson...If you like strange...you will like this movie
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Marilyn F. from SKOKIE, IL Reviewed on 2/21/2009...
Failure is a part of lifeâ€”a painful part, to be sure, but usually not fatal. Sometimes it comes from overreaching our abilities, sometimes from making promises we can't keep. But what if our failure is an offense against God? Does that kind of failure inflict a mortal wound, the literal or proverbial bolt of lightning sent to strike us down at this ultimate offense? That is a question that is central to Sean Penn's fascinating third film in the director's chairâ€”an actor's paradise and an audience's troubling fever dream.
Read the whole review here: http://ferdyonfilms.com/2006/02/the-pledge-2001-director-sean.php
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Not for dolts
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone expecting to find a formulaic cops-chase-killers movie should immediately move on to the latest Hollywood idiot fodder flick. "The Pledge" is intelligent, thought-provoking, well-directed, well-acted, and a feast for the senses.
I know many people who felt let down by this film, possibly because they expected the usual chase and hero's triumph at the end, which does not happen here. I found myself to be curious and somehow astonished by the end, and anxious to see it again.
Jack Nicholson gives one of his best latter-day performances here, and touches on areas which are not normally "Jack". By the end of the film, he is stunned and totally confused; knowing he was somehow right, though strange twists of fate conspire against him. It's almost Hitchcock territory; the man wrongly accused, or the man who knows all the facts, and yet no one believes him.
Sean Penn is no clown director; he's not making mass-market cheap thrill flicks here. He lets the story develop with a total absence of Hollywood cliches and setups. By the end, though most people will feel somehow cheated out of a visceral release, I feel viewers with an open mind who don't expect their movies to be served up like fast-food will be quite pleased. It's one of those movies you can talk about all night long."
Stunning Thriller With Nicholson At His Best!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 06/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is much to recommend in this complex and deeply layered psychological thriller featuring Jack Nicholson in what seems to have evolved into a continuing exploration into the dark side of human nature in his roles over the last decade. This is a gorgeously photographed and quite penetrating drama which on one level involves Nicholson as a dogged, troubled, and obsessed retired detective convinced the actual killer of his last gruesome juvenile homocide case is still at large, while on another level it is a stunning and all-too graphic portrait of what such single-minded concentration can do to a fragile and vulnerable personality. While it is not a movie I would recommend to the faint of heart, it is an absorbing exploration into this character's heart of darkness and the perils associated with such risky adventures.The movie is set supposedly in Reno and the surrounding Sierras, and the natural scenery that provides the stage for this drama is simply breath taking, and is worth the viewing experience for this experience alone. I was, however, disappointed to discover by viewing the end credits that the movie was largely shot in western Canada. Wherever it was filmed, the scenery provides a curious backdrop to the ugliness and sordidness of human beings, and how their own experiences and personalities blind them to the beauty in others around them. Each has been branded by the character and limitations of his or her own reservoir of emotional experiences, and each is consequently sent spinning toward a seemingly irrevocable tendency to make snap conclusions about complex realities as a result. Thus Nicholson is caught in the dilemma of not only his own troubles, but in the easy answers others have in attributin ghis actions and behavior to other motives and problems. Thus Robin Wright Penn, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard, Vanessa Redgrave, Harry Dean Stanton and a number of notable others blithely (and sometimes painfully) slip past the rather remarkable qualities in Nicholson's character as well as in Wright Penn's memorable turn as a woman with battered background and a beautiful little girl who lights up the screen and who also just happens to exactly fit Nicholson's bogeyman serial killer's profile. Thus, his motives for the subsequent involvement are confused at best, yet he seems to genuinely care for the new family he adopts along the way. With this, the stage is set for potential tragedy, and while I found the conclusion emotionally and dramatically unpleasing, it was admittedly indeed in the scope of the characters and circumstance to have it so ended. I recommend this, but also caution against letting one's impressionable children watch this. Like "Silence Of The Lambs" or "Seven", this is hardly juvenile entertainment. Enjoy!"
Powerful and Thoughtful.......
Stewart Axelrad | San Antonio, Texas United States | 06/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me say that I consider Jack Nicholson to be one of most underrated actors of his generation. His performance in "The Pledge" is nothing short of remarkable, not so much in the way his speaks the dialogue, but in those moments when he has none, and reveals the mind of a deeply tormented man. Other reviews have discussed the plot, so I'll dispense with that, other than to say that this is a movie about redemption and a lost cause. The pledge referred to in the title is one that Nicholson cannot assuredly keep, and thus forfeits his "soul's salvation". The Nicholson character is basically a lonely, desperate man, who hangs his hopes on catching a serial killer, and by a twist of fate, fails in his mission. The supporting cast is excellent, Benecio Del Toro, Robin Wright Penn and even Vanessa Redgrave (one of the best performances in the film, although a brief one-scene cameo). Sean Penn's direction is superb, with the intercutting of nature scenes with the main plot (watch for the symbolic flock of birds throughout the film). This is not a film for those who desire neat, tied-up endings but ones which mirror the real and unresolved tragedies of life. Truly a haunting and poignant story, with excellent character studies all around."
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bravo to Sean Penn for bringing us a psychological thriller that is both intellegent and unpredicatable.If I could only use one word to describe this film I would have to say INTENSE!
Jerry Black(Jack Nicholson) is about to retire from his duties as a homicide detective in Reno, Nevada. Nicholson's portrayal of this cop is so strong, that we can see what he is feeling and thinking by one raise of those famous eyebrows.Already we can see that he is regretting his retirement. Amidst the retirement party his fellow offficers are throwing for him, word comes of a horrible crime. A little local girl has been brutally assaulted and murdered. Jerry cannot help but to become involved with this case.He is the one who must tell the parents the devasting news, at which point he makes a solemn promise to the girl's mother, that he will not rest until this deranged killer is caught!
All evidence points to one suspect. The suspect confesses, and in a bizarre twist takes his own life. Jerry though has instincts that tell him this was not the murderer. He becomes obssessed with finding the true killer,he puts his life on hold and at the risk of alienating all his friends, devotes himself to the task. He also meets and falls for a woman who has a daughter around the age of the murder victim and becomes obssessed with protecting her as well.Jerry falls deeper and deeper into his own dark world, as the tension mounts.
Nicholson has given us many fine performances over the years to be treasured, this one though, to me, was his best character study since "Five Easy Pieces". Penn has done a brillant job behind the camera, and also has chosen a well seasoned cast to add to this fine film. It includes Benecio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shephard, Harry Dean Stanton, Vanessa Redgrave Lois Smith, and Robin Wright Penn.A brilliant screen play by Jerry and Mary Olsen-Kromolowski. Add to that a haunting score by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt and incredible camera work by Chris Menges, which takes in the snowy scapes in sharp contrast to the murder and you have a story you won't soon forget.
I would reccommend this film to anyone who has a taste for something out of the ordinary. It is not for the sensitive viewer though.
If you've seen the film already and know you like it, you can count on a good transfer by Warner Bros, to the DVD. It is a crisp and clear picture presented widescreen. Colors and sound(Dolby 5.1 surround) are outstanding as well.It may be viewed in French(also in the 5.1)and has subtitles in English and French(Dubbed in Quebec) as well.Other than a theatrical trailer you will not find much in the way of extras. But you might just want to start the movie over and watch it again. Go for it...Laurie
also recommended: Just Cause
Jack 3-Pack (A Few Good Men / Easy Rider / As Good as It Gets)"
A flawed but compelling film
Thomas A. Baker | Atlanta, GA, USA | 08/07/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Pledge" flew under most everyone's radar when it was released theatrically earlier this year. I was somewhat surprised at the time, given the success of dark films like "Seven" and the pedigree of Nicholson and Sean Penn, but it makes sense in retrospect. Today's multiplex is not friendly to movies like this. "The Pledge" is a flawed study of obsession that isn't for everyone. You may turn it off halfway through, bored with director Penn's deliberate style. Or, like me, you may be compelled to see it again and again.Not many actors have the presence to pull a role like Jerry Black off, and Nicholson does it with skill to burn. However, while the script turns on some nagging questions, one of them undermines much of the film: we don't understand Jerry well enough to know what fuels his obsession. Was it some previous case that went bad? "The Pledge" doesn't want to give you all the answers, and leaves several things deliberately cryptic, but everything hinges on Jerry's motivation. How did Mrs. Larsen (Patricia Clarkson) coax such a life-or-death pledge out of Jerry? And if he agrees merely to tell a grieving mother what she wants to hear, why does he feel so bound by the pledge, and why does he follow through to such a degree? Another major flaw is the stunted romance between Jerry and Robin Wright Penn's character--it feels obligatory, as if the screenwriters were just using a tried and true playbook, but it's somewhat implausible, doesn't serve the plot, and should've been scrapped. But with Nicholson, the consummate pro, and some good use of the Nevada setting's stark beauty (the night- and snow-bound murder scene is as good as movies get), "The Pledge" overcomes some script weaknesses and pacing problems to deliver a flawed but compelling portrait of human obsession. A warning: if you like every answer wrapped up in a neat little package at the end, this is NOT the movie for you. "The Pledge" is challenging and flawed, but I'll take a movie like this over any number of "Pearl Harbors" that you want to throw my way."