The Pledge Reviews
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 film was shot mainly on location in the British Columbia interior. While the opening scenes were filmed in Reno, Nevada, the rest of the film was shot in Keremeos, Princeton, Hedley, Merritt and Lytton, all in British Columbia.
its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie......i think that this is a really suspenseful thriller movie 2 watch its such a really well written/acted/directed movie 2 watch its such a fantastic thriller movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie.......i think that this is such a fantastic movie 2 watch its got a good cast throughout this movie its such an intense thriller movie 2 watch.....its got a great cast throughout this movie its such a thrilling suspenseful movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie........its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie......its got good car chases throughout this movie its such a stunning thriller movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie......
He gets the difficult task of reporting the terrible incident to the girl's mother, Margaret Larsen (Patricia Clarkson). He pledges her that he will one day find perpetrator, a pledge that will eventually become an obsession.
Jerry Black's colleagues make an easy way out of the situation and arrest a mentally challenged native american (played excellently by Benicio Del Toro), whom they torture through relentless hours of tough interrogation, which eventually leads to a meek confession. There is no chance of prosecute him properly however, since he "mysteriously" is killed in the police station which only leads to that the case is unofficially regarded as closed.
Black is convinced that there is way more to it.
He visits the school where Ginny went, and speaks to her friends. It turns out that Ginny had an adult friend she was regularly seeing, whom she called "the giant". After having looked at drawings Ginny made of him, before she died, it soon stands clear that it's not the indian guy who was arrested.
Making good of his promise, Black spends all his time to search for "the giant" who allegedly used to give little Ginny small "hedgehogs".
Sean Penn is the director behind this good adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's short story, The Pledge; Requiem For The Detective Novel. Penn does a good job, though it's not particularly "action-packed" but rather creeping slowly through the story. The result is a sturdy piece of work, that will not stand out that much but will serve as fine entertainment.
The star cast consists of (apart from Nicholson The Great, and Del Toro); Aaron Eckhart, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Mickey Rourke and Harry Dean Stanton.
They all make solid but not too rememberable performances.
The Pledge is simply good but light entertainment. Really liked the ending, which was very stylish and suggestive!
He immerses himself 110% in this case & as the film progresses you see him getting more and more lost in it.
Filled with many hair raising scenes & Sean Penn did everything right by not giving us a lot & keeping us guessing. The final moments of the film are so engrossing I don't want to wreck it for you...
[originally posted 21Jan2002]
Watching this movie after reading the book upon which it is based has the distinct feeling one gets while watching a brand new Ferrari speeding towards a brick wall at a hundred twenty miles per hour. You know from the moment it comes into your view that something is terribly wrong, and you know what the outcome will be, yet you continue to watch in hopes that the driver will turn the wheel at the last minute and survive the spectacle. Unfortunately, The Pledge is like the Spyder that Elias Koteas used for the James Dean recreation in the film Crash-you know that the guy behind the wheel here not only wanted the crash to occur, but that the crash was ultimately the main reason for the existence of the situation. From there, the best thing you can do is pick it apart and take a twisted fascination in seeing how everything went so horribly wrong.
In this case, you can sum up what went wrong in one easy sentence: the screenwriters who adapted the book had their priorities really, really screwed up. Instead of focusing on the main character's downfall and making the film into the same brilliant character study the book is, the film focuses on the subplot that is simply the catalyst for the main characters downfall. As a result, many of the scenes in the first half of the book upon which the narrative turns are gutted or altogether excised. The end result is that the main character, Black (Jack Nicholson), ends up looking like a levelheaded cop who's going about his business investigating a crime, even past his retirement, who eventually suffers a meteoric descent into madness for no discernible reason. (This isn't a spoiler: the opening scene of the movie is Nicholson standing, staring into the sun, muttering to himself and drinking.) This isn't Lovecraft; people don't go mad overnight in Durrenmatt's work. What makes his novels and plays so downright delicious is the descent itself, watching the main character(s) go mad just because they can't handle the world the way it is. It's not the one big event, it's the multitude of small events. That is absent from the screenplay, and the movie suffers greatly for it.
Looked at as its own piece, the movie becomes a bit more bearable. Black is a cop who catches a child murder case with six hours to go on the last day before he retires. He promises the child's mother that he will catch the murderer. The next day, the police have a suspect in custody, thanks to a witness who can place him at the scene. Everyone's convinced the suspect is the murderer except Black, who keeps digging into the case in order to find the real killer. It's a tried and true mystery formula, and it could have been made to work here. But, to turn my earlier argument on its head, once you get past the point where the scriptwriters gutted Durrenmatt's novel, they then decided to keep as much of what happens AFTER this as possible (changing enough to make a 1957 novel look contemporary and setting it in America, both of which are cosmetic changes). This is where the movie fully derails, as the lack of setup in the beginning makes everything that happens in the second half of the film look coincidental at best. It just doesn't work.
I know that watching the movie after reading the book is almost always a bad idea, but this is a particularly painful example. **
A dark, borderline depressing film (and it is a film, not a movie as there is little Hollywood gloss here at all) which given the subject matter is fitting. The director Sean Penn creates an almost independent film look throughout only with famous faces popping up in small (sometimes very small) roles. It is not an enjoyable film to watch, but it is worth doing so, owing to that fact is its biggest accomplishment.