Release Date: September 22nd, 2006 by Columbia Pictures.
The Cast: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Jackie Earle Haley, Kathy Baker, Talia Balsam, Travis Champagne, Frederic Forrest.
Directed by Steven Zaillian.
BASIC PREMISE: Willie Stark (Penn) rises to power as governor of Louisiana and gets involved with corruption.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite an all-star cast, All the King’s Men has a confusing, dull plot with boring characters. Sean Penn gives an over-the-top performance as Willie Stark, a smarmy governor who is part of a tangled web of corruption. Newspaper journalist Jack Burden (Law) investigates the corruption which, in turn, gets him into more and more trouble. Anthony Hopkins plays a retired judge who holds a grudge against Stark. Kate Winslet is Jack’s love interest, Anne, although they have no chemistry together. Unfortunately, the script by Steven Zaillan goes all over the place and lacks dramatic suspense. Too many underdeveloped characters who talks a lot but say very little lead to more questions than answers which quickly makes you lose interest in the entire film itself. On a positive note, the production value is quite impressive with great set design, sound effects, and cinematography—particularly a scene where Jack talks to Anne on a big table with transparent drapes hanging in front of Anne in one angle, but not blocking her in another. If only the screenplay was as lively and interesting. At a running time of 120 minutes, All the King’s Men overstays its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Confusing, contrived and dull.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Great production values, but a very unfocused, contrived script makes for a very confusing experience.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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