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All The King's Men (2006)

tomatometer

11

Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 155
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 138

With a scenery-chewing performance from Sean Penn, an absence of political insight, and an overall lack of narrative cohesiveness, these Men give Oscar bait a bad name.

8

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 50
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 46

With a scenery-chewing performance from Sean Penn, an absence of political insight, and an overall lack of narrative cohesiveness, these Men give Oscar bait a bad name.

audience

40

liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 91,879

My Rating

Movie Info

The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian. Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is a man of the people, and for the people; at least that's what he tells the people. Propelled into a race for governor by opposing forces

PG-13,

Drama

Dec 19, 2006

$7.2M

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All Critics (155) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (138) | DVD (7)

What should have been an incisive study of the American political scene turns out a lumbering celluloid white elephant.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film isn't dreadful: it is just generally disappointing.

October 26, 2006
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director can't seem to find a natural rhythm for the movie -- it's portentous and vague at the same time.

September 25, 2006 | Comment (1)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All the King's Men was suspended in editing limbo for nearly a year, and the final result only makes the mind reel at what it could have been carved from.

September 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's Zaillian's overdirection that cooks this whole mess into a flavorless gumbo. He never shows you something just once when he could show it twice and never leaves a point unhammered home.

September 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All the King's Men is full of bits that work; unfortunately, they never quite add up to a whole.

September 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a good movie in here somewhere but Zaillian's muddied storytelling and lack of focus hides it beyond recall.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: ComingSoon.net
ComingSoon.net

All the King's Men is a dull movie, mainly due to the fact that it is full of boring characters which are poorly written by writer/director Steven Zaillian and led by an underwhelming Jude Law.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Static and dreary, drained of juice and drenched in "respectable" lighting

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

"All the King's Men" is a grand scale embarrassment.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Mesmo que não o comparemos ao clássico de 49, este filme constrange pelo roteiro confuso, pela montagem artificial, pelas atuações decepcionantes e pela trilha excessiva, salvando-se apenas a bela fotografia.

September 6, 2008
Cinema em Cena

...a lush melodrama about the corruptibility of us all.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: BrandonFibbs.com
BrandonFibbs.com

A "shouty" film... a bit too long, a bit heavy handed with the rhetoric.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Leaves out too much of the story to really work. Why are these people doing what they're doing? If I hadn't seen the 1949 version first, I would not have known.

April 29, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

As much an old-fashioned potboiler as it is a political morality tale.

February 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

It's beautifully shot, acted and designed, but there's little cohesion in the story. Maybe one day we'll see a better cut, but for now this is a sadly fumbled opportunity.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

We have a series of beautiful threads weaved together in such haphazard fashion that, despite their potential, form a surprisingly ugly quilt.

December 2, 2006
Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)

Penn is terrific and the production values are impressive, but All the King's Men gets lost in a poorly-structured, overly complicated plot that fails to engage.

October 28, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

A Louisiana swamp of overacting and muddled plotlines sinks this cumbersome new version of Robert Penn Warren's political thriller.

October 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

It's a typical politician's tale -- all talk and no action.

October 24, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC.com | Comment (1)

Plays as a veritable autopsy of itself; to watch the movie is to watch it go wrong, to observe the tempting gleam of the film that might have been grow ever dimmer.

October 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

What's worse -- a bad remake of a classic film, or just a bad literary adaptation with delusions of grandeur?

October 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

This is a misfire of almost epic proportions, a lavishly produced but wholly hollow and nonsensical adaptation of a magnificently constructed novel.

October 8, 2006 Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic
NYC Film Critic

a powerful story in real life, but it just doesn't come across on film.

October 3, 2006 Full Review

Audience Reviews for All The King's Men

I've been meaning to see Robert Rossen's original All the Kings Men for a while but somehow I've managed to see this version first. If it is as good as this film then I will be pleased. The acting by the more than capable cast was impressive and I thought the story flowed so well with the odd on/off narrative from Jude Law's character. I thought it was a good choice as it could have very easily been just another cliched and predictable political drama that has been made time and time again. It's not a perfect film by any stretch but there is something quite pleasing about its imperfections and quirks. At the very least it is very watchable, I'm slightly confused by the very low ratings it has been given, I can only conclude that people actually like watching the same film over and over.
June 2, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

I know I might be in the minority, but I loved every minute of this. The acting was terrific and it was a perfect neo-noir story. I liked the idea of seeing the complete corruption of an innately good person and the following of him by journalist Jack Burden.
January 6, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

"Time brings all things to light."

The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian. Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is a man of the people, and for the people; at least that's what he tells the people. Propelled into a race for governor by opposing forces looking to split the "hick vote," Stark is convinced by a handler -- as well as by young journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law) -- to not kowtow to the powers that be. His rhetoric grows fiery, and he makes his way into office on a not-so-solid foundation of social-service promises. When idealism gives way to the harsh realities of the time, however, the fast-talking politico is quick to discover just how far one can fall when ambition and power lead to a betrayal of one's original motivations. Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins round out an all-star cast in this second version of Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 novel; the first won a parade of Oscars after its release in 1949.

Review
While this movie did contain a startling amount bad film clichés, including a "dark man in the shadows" bit, I think that the actors were about the only thing that made this film watchable. Penn was a bit over the top as Willie Stark, but it felt somewhat fitting, especially because he went more over the top as the character's mania increased. Jude Law, while exceedingly pretty, fit the character of the struggling debutante fairly well. Patricia Clarkson as Saide Burke far outshone the rest of the cast, and was really the only one that pulled off convincingly a Louisiana accent. Mark Ruffalo was underused and far out shown his traditional romantic comedy characters.

There were parts of the movie that were distracting to the plot. The movie was overly melodramatic along with most of the music, which was at times distracting. James Gandolfini acted well but his accent was terrible. Kate Winslet was the least convincing of all cast members and often looked out of place. Worst of all, perhaps, is that the "morals" of the movie were so obvious and yet with the heaviness of the movie you felt empty for not achieving some deeper level of understanding.
November 14, 2008
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

    1. Willie Stark: Nail 'em up!
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (6 months ago)
    1. Sadie Burke: The world is full of sluts on skates.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (6 months ago)
    1. Jack Burden: To find somethin', anything, a great truth or a lost pair of glasses, you must first believe there would be some advantage in findin' it. I found somethin' a long time ago, and have held on to it for grim death ever since. I owe my success in life to it; it put me where I am today. This principle: what you don't know, won't hurt you. They called it idealism in a book I read.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (12 months ago)
    1. Willie Stark: They fooled you one thousand times, just like they fooled me. But this time, I'll fool somebody. I'll stay in this race. I'm on my own and out for blood. Listen to me, you hicks! Lift up your eyes and look at God's blessed and uniflown truth. This is the truth! You're a hick himself. Listen to me, listen to me! They were gonna use me to split the vote. But I'm standin' here now on my hind legs. Even a dog can learn to do that. Are you standin' on your hind legs? Have you learned that yet? Here it is, you hicks! Nail up anybody who stands in your way. Nail up Joe Harrison! Nail up McMurphy! If they don't deliver, give me the hammer and I'll do it. I want his throat cut from ear to ear.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (12 months ago)
    1. Jack Burden: You only get a couple of moments that determine your life. Sometimes only one. And then it's gone forever.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (12 months ago)
    1. Willie Stark: Time brings all things to light, I trust it so.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (12 months ago)
View all quotes (8)

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