The Pledge (2001)
Critic Consensus: Though its subject matter is grim and may make viewers queasy, The Pledge features an excellent, subtle performance by Jack Nicholson.
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|Rating:||R (for violence, a strong sex scene, and some language)|
|Genre:||Mystery & Suspense, Drama|
|Directed By:||Sean Penn|
|Written By:||Mary Olson-Kromolowski, Jerzy Kromolowski, Sean Penn|
|In Theaters:||Jan 19, 2001 Wide|
|On DVD:||Jun 19, 2001|
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as Det. Jerry Black
as Toby Jay Wadenah
as Stan Krolak
as Annalise Hansen
as Margaret Larson
as Jim Olstand
as Eric Pollack
as Floyd Cage
as Gary Jackson
as Duane Larson
as Helen Jackson
as Monash Deputy
as Ginny Larsen
as Alma Cage
as Becky Fiske
as Bus Driver
as Store Clerk
as Real Estate Agent
as Resort Owner
as TV Anchorman
as Grey-Haired Man
as Flea Market Vendor
as Rest Home Resident
as Crime Scene Reporter
as Airport Bartender
News & Interviews for The Pledge
Critic Reviews for The Pledge
Mystery-thriller buffs, promise yourselves that you'll see The Pledge. And while you're at it, be sure to invite along Jack Nicholson fans and anyone who saw the first two movies that Sean Penn directed.
Penn can't be faulted for his work with the actors. Most of the featured players have only a scene or two, but they're indelible.
Ultimately, the payoffs just aren't there, either psychologically or dramatically.
[Penn] sustains a mesmerizing intensity while relentlessly building toward an emotionally wrenching climax.
Sean Penn's agonizing, angst-ridden "The Pledge" feels like a mystery less about murder and more about the inexplicable dangers of impulse and guilt. It's also a waning opportunity to see Jack Nicholson as anything besides a silver-haired hornball.
Audience Reviews for The Pledge
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.
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.
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.
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