8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"If you don't vote--you don't matter",
This review is from: All the King's Men (Special Edition) (DVD)
"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.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 30, 2008 1:29:15 PM PDT
Steven A. Peterson says:
Given that this work is a thinly disguised examination of Long, changing times sounds a little dubious to me. Anyhow, nice review.
Posted on Mar 31, 2008 8:51:38 PM PDT
Judy K. Polhemus says:
This movie is a sterling example of when the book is far far better!!!! Sean Penn chewed up the scenery. Even though I would never cast an Englishman as a Southerner, I thought Jude Law was quite good in this role, impressively so. Nice review.
Posted on Apr 1, 2008 3:34:05 AM PDT
I have this DVD sitting here at home and I have yet to watch it. Thank you for so aptly reviewing it and getting me in the mood to watch it.
Posted on Apr 1, 2008 7:49:46 AM PDT
H. Schneider says:
I think even your modest ranking with 3 stars is too positive! I think it is by far Penn's worst performance as an actor.
Posted on Apr 1, 2008 2:39:41 PM PDT
Chris Pandolfi says:
Wonderful review, Becky. My biggest problem with this film was that it was painfully underdeveloped, especially the relationships between Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo's character was virtually ignored, which only made his final moments in the film seem ill-fitting unforseen. Despite Sean Penn's wonderful performance, I thought this was one of the worst films of 2006.
Posted on Apr 2, 2008 2:43:13 AM PDT
K. Corn says:
Ah, I'm glad to see this one tonight. I wasn't crazy about this version (second time I saw it). I liked the earlier film version and the book, of course, is a stunner. I'm coming to this review awash in Ennio Morricone music,having revisited Days of Heaven recently. Such good timing on your review, with politics in the air, an election looming.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2008 4:38:07 AM PDT
Changing times is VERY dubious. There's some good in this film, but it's just "off".
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2008 4:39:25 AM PDT
Brian--thank you for your kind words. I always admire your reviews and that one of mine got your attention is something to be proud of! I think you'll enjoy parts of the film. I'm going to be watching to see what you say about it.
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