All The King's Men (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 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. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rating:
PG-13 (for an intense sequence of violence, sexual content and partial nudity)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Sean Penn
as Willie Stark
Jude Law
as Jack Burden
Kate Winslet
as Anne Stanton
Mark Ruffalo
as Adam Stanton
Patricia Clarkson
as Sadie Burke
Anthony Hopkins
as Judge Irwin
James Gandolfini
as Tiny Duffy
Kathy Baker
as Mrs. Burden
Talia Balsam
as Lucy Stark
Frederic Forrest
as Willie's Father
Kevin Dunn
as Alex
Tom McCarthy
as Editor
Glenn Morshower
as Commissioner
Jay Patterson
as Senator
Michael Cavanaugh
as Mr. Peyton
Caroline Lagerfelt
as Mrs. Peyton
Valerie Stodghill
as Miss DuMonde
Nicole Bobek
as Ice Skater
Tom Aldredge
as Carruthers' Banker
Lenka Peterson
as Savannah Clerk
Eileen Ryan
as Lily Littlepaugh
Gary Grubbs
as Sheriff
Hunt Downer
as Senate Leader
Elijah Luke Morris
as Jack (age 10)
David Montgomery John
as Adam (age 11)
Bruce Heinrich
as Mr. Burden
Jordan Rhodes
as MacMurphy
Charles Newell
as Reporter
Joshua Davis
as Jack (age 4)
James Arden
as Marian
Keb' Mo'
as Slade's Guitarist
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for All The King's Men

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (50)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | October 29, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

October 26, 2006
The New Republic
Top 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
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 22, 2006
Toronto Star
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 22, 2006
Slate
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for All The King's Men

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.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

½

All of the talent but none of the substance would be a good way to describe this film.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

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.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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