As a crime story, it would be engaging enough on its own, but it gains it true strength in the measured and disciplined study of its protagonist.
| Original Score: B+
As enthralling as it sometimes is, there isn't any point to the relentless grimness.
| Original Score: 3/5
An elegant rejoinder to a tired genre, a consummate work of screen adaptation, and further evidence that there is precious little Sean Penn can't achieve on film, whether before or behind the lens.
Penn, unafraid, strategically uses visuals that hack directors don't even know how to approach.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Penn's past directing gigs...are the work of a tortured soul; The Pledge was guided by a tortured artist.
...a resolutely low-key and solidly unconventional exercise in frustration.
| Original Score: 6/10
A movie as unsatisfying as it is ambitious.
The film is more exciting that watching paint dry, however, because of great work by some very talented actors.
| Original Score: 2/4
It is a story that is designed to frustrate those looking for easy answers and a neat wrap-up.
| Original Score: 3/4
This is one of Nicholson's finest performances and that's saying one hell of a lot.
Any opportunity to see Jack Nicholson when he's not on autopilot is exciting.
A film that - warts and all - is going to be far more interesting to talk about in future years than 90 minutes of gunfights would have been.
| Original Score: 75/100
There's not enough payoff at the end of The Pledge, following so much build-up, but the story still maintains enough interest and suspense to keep viewers tuned in.
A fierce, fragmented, downbeat film.
| Original Score: 4/5
We left with a feeling of lethargy that made watching The Pledge hardly worth the effort.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
The payoff eventually shows up. We swear.
A movie of impressive performances and intriguing visuals that are worth the effort needed to let the tale roll out.
It's the rare -- and rewarding -- police drama that cares more for character than plot.
Breathlessly catapults us back to the taut German films in the 1970s.
A moving and unmannered motion picture -- a convincing portrait of a man at the end of his rope.