All the King's Men Reviews
The original man-ruined-by-the-system story, All the King's Men doesn't have much over its Sean Penn remake or the more modern The Candidate. The performances are all fine, but the story, which is compelling at its base, doesn't fully explore what motivates Willie's descent. Power-hungry characters aren't compelling if they're not power-hungry in ways with which we can identify.
Overall, in this case, the imitations are better than the original.
Plot: The story begins with reporter Jack Burden who is assigned to write a story about Willie Stark: a man who taught himself law and become a lawyer while also attempting to go into politics. His efforts go horribly wrong at first due to how he's more honest and innocent compared to the corrupted politicians he's fighting against, but eventually he figures things out and eventually goes as far as becoming the governor of the state is loved by everybody. But things start to go wrong when people around begin to feel that he's becoming corrupted by the power he is given.
Okay now I understand why some people seem to think it doesn't hold out as much as it did in '49. Because let's be honest, the story about people being corrupted by power is becoming a more common and therefore becoming a bit more of a cliche then it was back then. But that doesn't necessarily stop it from being a good movie for what it was. The story was told very well, the acting was very well done, heck it was interesting to know that this movie was basically based off a real Louisiana governor from the mid 30's where apparently everything that happens in this movie pretty much happened back then. On a whole, it's a movie that goes into what happens when power really corrupts and it gives a very good idea at what it can really do to people. Plus this film also focuses on what happens to the people around Willie Stark when he become corrupted and reckless in some ways which is good. But I think what interests be the most from watching this movie again is not just how Broderick Crawford's performance gave us a man who completely lost his innocence throughout the film (although it is the main factor as to why he deserved to win Best Actor for it), but also how it was hinted that he was going to be corrupt. Maybe I"m just taking his performance a completely different way then how I should, but watching roughly the first half of the movie again, I realized that even when he was down on his luck, there seemed to be hints that he's not quite as good as you'd expect. That these moments showed how maybe he wasn't 100% on the focus of the people and possibly focused on things just to get the power and be loved and that made it easier for him to be corrupted. Again, I might've read too much into that, but if that's the case, then that's a little interesting that the character Willie Stark and what happens to him may not be quite as black and white as I remembered. Anything else to say, I didn't quite care much for Jack and Anne during the second half because of how they would still be loyal to Stark despite what happens that makes everyone unsure/hate him.
And that's my review for All The King's Men. If you don't like it because of some of the characters or how the moral is more of a cliche then it was before, that's understandable. But otherwise, it's a very well done movie with a good story, well done acting, a main character that was not only well acted, but maybe was not quite as black and white and you might think making him a little more intriguing. It's a very enjoyable film and considering its time at the very least, it's little wonder that it won best picture.
So that's every single best picture winner I have reviewed...except for one. What in the world could that possibly be? Well you are going to find out soon as you might have noticed that I'm not very far away from reaching 500 reviews. So stick around for more as I work my way all the way to my 499th review and I shall finish going through the final one to review as my 500th review. See you then!