The Pledge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pledge Reviews

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November 20, 2014
Fantastic Story & Definitely Drag Me Right In. Really Liked The Performance By Jack. Made It His Movie.
November 11, 2014
The Pledge is well crafted and surprisingly believable. Unfortunately, its exhausting to watch and leaves you feeling empty when its over.
October 20, 2014
Its style is self-conscious, too many shots could (should) have been cut, and its narrative lacks satisfactory conclusion. Skip it.
September 20, 2014
A great performance from Nicholson and a thrilling story with plenty of forks in the road along the way. Sean Penn places us inside of a retired detective's life with ease and grace. But the film leaves many questions to be answered.
½ August 31, 2014
A film that looks ordinary but not at all ordinary with stunning performance by Jack Nicholson and superb direction by Sean Penn. The profound loss in Jack's eyes by the end of the film is one of the best scenes I have ever watched. The ending is so cruelly pointless, but maybe that is the point that Penn wanted to share with people about the thin line between sanity and insanity, especially when one devotes his whole life to one purpose just to find out that he is all alone at the end of the road with no desire, no regret, just an empty space ahead of nothing to live for, nothing to dream about, simply nothingness like the vast and beautiful but soulless nature out there. Loneliness is really cruel to human mind, especially when it is accompanied by the loss of will to live.
Super Reviewer
August 26, 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.
July 9, 2014
wow....ummmm just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a great movie 2 watch......its got a good cast of actors/actressess throughout this movie......i think that jack nicholson, patricia clarkson, benicio del toro, dale dickey, aaron eckhart, play good roles/parts throughout this movie......i think that the director of this mystery/suspense/drama movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie.......i think that this is such a really enjoyable thriller movie 2 watch.......its got a good cast throughout this movie.......its got good car chases throughout this movie........i think that this is such a really suspenseful thriller movie 2 watch its got a great cast throughout this movie......

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......
June 24, 2014
I went into this expecting one thing and got something completely different, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is Nicholson at his best.
½ June 20, 2014
Well above average thriller with Jack Nicholson playing the lead, as the recently retired police detective Jerry Black who experiences the most brutal crime during his career when a little girl is found murdered and raped. His colleagues are throwing a for Jerry as it's his last day as a cop, when they get the news that a teenage boy has found the body of seven year old Ginny Larsen.
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!
½ June 9, 2014
An incredible tense drama about a retired cop who takes on one last case...a murdered 9 year old girl that he believes was murdered by a killer who is going to hit again.

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...
June 6, 2014
Sean Penn delivers an unforgettable psychological thriller with an interesting storyline, fantastic cinematography, a stellar cast headed by Jack Nicholson in a powerhouse performance as Jerry Black and a haunting soundtrack that perfectly complements the plot.
May 31, 2014
The Pledge (Sean Penn, 2000)
[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. **
½ May 27, 2014
Simplistic yet dynamic, heartbreaking yet true. Nicholson at his best.
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.
May 12, 2014
In true Sean Penn fashion, the movie is incredibly slow with visual scenes that mean nothing. Wait for it...., wait for it.....
March 29, 2014
Directed by Sean Penn, his 3rd film as director after The Indian Runner (1991) and The Crossing Guard (1995)), this was based on Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1958 novella Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman. This is a sparse and cold detective film with a difference, it's set in America but it has a European feel to it. But Penn get's some brilliant performances from everyone on board. Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) has just retired from police work, but just before he's officially retired, he takes on one final case, the murder of a little girl in the woods. The girl's mother Margaret Larsen (Patricia Clarkson) makes Jerry swear on a cross that he'll find the murderer. It seems like they have when they arrest retarded native American Toby Jay Wadenah (Benicio del Toro), and it seems like another case closed. But, Jerry isn't so sure, he doesn't believe Wadenah is the killer, in the meantime he's befriended bartender Lori (Robin Wright Penn) and her daughter Chrissy (Pauline Roberts), who has been visited by a mysterious stranger. This is a film which will require patience, and it's outcome may prove as unsatisfactory to those wanting a straight forward cop film, this is anything but. Nicholson shows a sensitive side he's seldom shown in films before, and it's benefitted by Penn's confident direction and from tight cinematography by Chris Menges.
½ March 11, 2014
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.
March 6, 2014
Couldn't finish it..It was THAT boring. Even with Oscar winner Jack Nicholson, this movie FAILED.
½ February 3, 2014
Jack Nicholson is a retiring detective who is celebrating when a murder occurs. He investigates and "pledges" to find the killer for the parents. They do think they found him in Benecio Del Toro, but he shoots himself before they get much. Nicholson isn't done and starts to become obsessed with it. He ends up befriending a local in a small town who happens to fit the victim profile and the killer does target her. So he tries to use her as bait to capture him. This movie was somewhat interesting, about halfway through, I felt there had to be something more to the story as it basically held up a sign saying "This is your killer", but that doesn't happen. It just keeps going until the end, which is just terrible. Nicholson is somehow able to get a SWAT team to stake out a spot where the girl is set up to meet The Wizard, The team eventually leaves when they think the killer won't show up. The mother comes by and stops it when Nicholson is hiding near the child, and then tells the child to go wait in the car by herself. So many unbelievable thing happen in a span of a few minutes. Plus, Nicholson just gives up which doesn't really mesh with his obsessive character. Could have been better, but just fails in the second half.
February 3, 2014
Good movie, BAD ending.....
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