The Pledge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pledge Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 11, 2014
Sean Penn directed this interesting story about the innate fear of ageing, wrapped inside of a murder mystery/hunt for a killer, with a tiny bit of "fuck you" to the culture that makes objects of women (whatever their age) on the side. Because it's Penn there's plenty of quality character actors here (it's a damned acting smorgasbord!), with actor showcase scenes (unnecessary for the story but allowing the actors to preen some) scattered about this not-much-more-than-a-CSI-episode-done-Hollywood-style of a film and therein is where the movie gets legs, gets up, and gets down.
The story presented however is as mean-spirited a thing I've seen outside of torture porn. Even the payoff at the feature's close is denied.
If you enjoy filmmaking designed to produce stomach upset, this is the work for you.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2014
The Pledge is an average thriller, one that doesn't have anything truly remarkable going for it. The problem I had with the film was that it was a long, tedious affair that really took too much time for the story to unfold. I have nothing against films that do that, but they should at least have something going on to make it truly interesting. That's where The Pledge kinds of falls flat, and never realizes its potential of being a memorable thriller. Luckily, the performances are quite good, or else the film would have ultimately failed in being a watchable affair. I really wanted to enjoy the film, but to me, it tried to outdo its ideas by stretching its story, and in turn, the pacing suffered, and it didn't have a good flow to go with the somewhat effective story. The Pledge is a flawed film, that doesn't necessitate multiple viewings, but it's good and worth seeing, but it's not a memorable thriller either. Sean Penn's direction, is average at best, and he seems to try to hard at conveying a story that feels too ambitious, and he adds too much of a pretentious vibe to the film, which makes the overall on-screen result suffer, and it ends up being a bland, average film that divides viewers. I really wanted to enjoy this one a bit more, but I felt that something was missing to truly make it standout. As it is, it's a good movie, but it's not great either. You'll watch the film, wanting a bit more out of the film, and you'll spend it figuring out that there's something missing to really make it a memorable, stunning thriller.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2011
This is Sean Penn's masterpiece. He has made other really good movies like The Indian Runner and Into The Wild, but this is easily his best. The cast is amazing with possibly the best two roles coming from Mickey Rourke and Benicio Del Toro who both have very little screen time. This is a very unique and chilling movie.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2009
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Dale Dickey, Benicio Del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Tom Noonan, Robin Wright Penn, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard, Lois Smith, Harry Dean Stanton, Costas Mandylor, Michael O'Keefe, Eileen Ryan, Patricia Clarkson

Director: Sean Penn

Summary: Homicide detective Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) is on the eve of retirement when he gets a call that changes everything. A young girl has been murdered, and Black takes the case, promising the distraught parents he'll see it through to the end. Robin Wright co-stars as Black's companion, a single, working-class mother who can't divine the obsessive streak that makes him tick.

My Thoughts: "I thought it was a really good film. Jack Nicholson was exceptional as Jerry Black. This film has a great supporting cast from Helen Mirren to Patricia Clarkson. Great group of actor's in a slow mystery thriller. The story has disturbing images that were (the murder scene) hard to look at. The ending really surprised me. The middle of the film is a build up for this finale that you know is coming, but it's not the ending you thought you would get. Once again, Jack Nicholson, so good in this. Also Sean Penn directing, what a great job by him. Really like his directing."
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2010
A solid, well-aimed look at a cop (Jack Nicholson) who is finding it hard to enjoy retirement after a case that popped up on the evening of his last day made him pledge to the family of a murdered child that he would find her killer. While this movie isn't anything spectacular (some predictability creeps in), it is a competent look at a man driven to fulfill a promise, with Jack Nicholson turning in one of his finest, most nuanced performances yet. One of the complaints you could make is that it's too populated with stars, seeing Benicio del Toro, Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, and Mickey Rourke (who brings the house down in his two minutes or so of screen-time), are barely in the movie and serve as a little bit of a distraction to give some excitement to a sometimes slow-moving story. However, when you consider how taut the last 1/3 of this film is, as well as getting to see what Nicholson's character becomes after watching him for 2-plus hours, the somewhat open-ended finale actually works wonders, and in the end one should end up respecting this movie - despite its obvious flaws.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2006
Inspired by Friedrich Dürrenmatt's story that already triggered a couple of good German adaptations of the murder hunt, this is Hollywood's take on it. Not only does it focus on the search for a child murderer but also the grieve the families have to deal with after losing a beloved child. Vanessa Redgrave deliver's the most touching scene of the film as the victim's grandmother. Nicholson is great as cop that promised to solve the case and gets in more deeply than is healthy for his mental state. It's a slow movie that takes its time getting the pieces together, but really well done at any time. The solution is nothing one expects of Hollywood films but the more powerful. Respect, Mr. Penn
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2009
Eerie and suspenseful. Jack Nicholson goes down a path of duty into obsession. It's very original and unconventional, which was refreshing. Great early performance from Aaron Eckhart and Benicio Del Toro at his creepiest.
Super Reviewer
½ February 26, 2009
It's been years since I watched this one and I still haven't figured out if I liked it or not. Jack is excellent as the cop trying to fulfill a promise but the movie turns in directions I wasn't expecting and the ending just left me feeling confused as to if I was satisfied or not.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2008
Nice little thriller, Nicholson is actually a much better actor when he plays more restrained characters.
Super Reviewer
½ November 17, 2006
A much better film than I'd thought first time around, the haunting music throughout sets the atmospheric mood with a subject that is not easy to tackle.

VERDICT: A definite watch if it comes on tv.
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2007
Nicholson and Penn have a great actor director relationship. And look at the supporting cast.
Super Reviewer
December 4, 2007
Holy smokes, what an amazing cast! Besides Nicholson, we've got Robin Wright Penn -- Alas, poor Buttercup, thou art neither very buttery nor even very cuppy in this excruciating outing, undoubtedly adding further empirical credence to the notion that spouses should beware of working together --, Patricia Clarkson, Helen Mirren, Eileen Ryan, Vanessa Redgrave, Benicio Del Torro, Harry Dean Stanton, Sam Shepard, and Mickey Rourke -- who's amazing here. He does a great job. I'll stick my neck out and say that Rourke is the one great performance here. Two stars for him. Parenthetically, (the main young woman in this movie would do well to stick to her day job, perhaps encouraging the likes of Dakota Fanning to join her in the noble pursuit of pool hustling or inventing new Slurpee combinations at the local 7-Eleven or such like.) So, ah, what the heck happened? Wowsers. How on earth do you put together a group of actors like this and then come up with this movie? Well, flixster family, I think this question is indeed an excellent one. On the plus side, somewhere, someone decided the story was top drawer. Good. And all these actors bought into the screen play. Also good. The baseline idea, I think, is solid. But between the original script and the execution, uh, well, a very very very sad thing happened. How on earth, with a talent laden crew like this, could you possibly bomb? Answer: Behold the final product! I think somebody really screwed up. Royally. Who? I have absolutely no idea. (Sean Penn?)
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2007
A fantastic and extremely underated film. Nicholson gives an incredible performance, one where he holds back his usual OTT shouty persona. Nicholson is supported by a fantastic ensemble supporting cast in minor roles. The stand-out being Mickey Rourke who, in about 1 minute and 30 seconds gives the greatest performance i've ever seen. The pace is slow and very brooding, capturing Nicholson's decent into near insanity as his obsession drves him on. For anyone wanting a "satisfactory" or "happy" ending, go and watch some usual Hollywood rubbish. This ending kicks you in the nuts and says "this is life, accept it". Intelligent and subtle, this is a real piece of art that everyone should at least watch once.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2007
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2007
Fine drama of a retired detective becomes obsessed with a serial killer. Jack Nicholson does a fine performance better than the young actors & actresses in Sean Penn's film.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2006
a weak thriller
Super Reviewer
½ February 14, 2012
Forgettable which is unfortunate given who is involved. You would figure with Penn directing and Nicholson and Del Toro going at it that we would have a hidden gem. Instead it doesn't pan out. Kind of like the main character.
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2012
Carried wholly by Jack Nicholson, and his ability to sell any role, The Pledge takes a dark look at the life of a retired cop who has vowed to find one last killer. Directed by Sean Penn, the film lags a bit in the middle but makes up for it with tons of big names, including Aaron Eckhardt, Mickey Rourke, and Patricia Clarkson, and plot that leaves several questions unanswered all while letting the audience know only what they need to, as to not feel cheated.
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2010
This was a great effort from Jack Nicholson, I've always been a great fan of his. In this movie he stars as this soon-to-be retired Nevada sheriff. Right before his retirement he is to investigate the murder of a little girl. He talks to her mother and swears to her that he will solve the crime and find the murderer. He goes on with his life and finds love, but he still has in mind to solve the puzzle and find the killer. This was a great part for Nicholson to play.
Super Reviewer
July 4, 2006
What a staggering disappointment... this film let me down in every way possible. Directorially, Sean Penn never finds his footing with this project. It's a kaleidoscope of randomly selected visual styles and tones, none of which mesh together successfully. He also miscasts essentially every character in the film, so a potentially phenomenal group of actors is wasted. Jack Nicholson does some of his weakest work here, although he's still better than most actors would be in the same role. The only truly noteworthy performance is from Mickey Rourke, who is devastating and brilliant in his brief appearance. The script is one of the biggest problems here. It leads us through a painfully contrived, tedious exercise in the "detective story" formula, and then finishes off with a conclusion that is as pointless as it is dumb.
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