Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Sean Penn’s 2001 drama with Jack Nicholson, Robin Wright, Sam Shepard, Helen Mirren and Vanessa Redgrave. A police chief about to retire pledges to help a woman find her daughter's killer. Based on a story by German writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
Why I watched this movie? Mr. Jack Nicholson...this was one of the few Nicholson movies that I had not seen before.
What is this one about? A retiring police chief (Jack) pledges to catch the killer of a young child
My thoughts on this one? This has solid performances scattered throughout the movie. Nicholson appears in almost every scene in the movie and gives a memorable performance. The director, Sean Penn, gives Nicholson some major talent to act with in this movie. Benicio Del Toro, Robin Wright, Helen Mirren, Aaron Eckhart, Sam Shepard, Patricia Clarkson and Vanessa Redgrave all show up in this movie....the power of working with Jack? I do have some issues with the movie.....the pace is slow,…
The Pledge is an underrated gem that explores the nature of both promises and obsession, all wrapped up in the trappings of a stylish and high-quality thriller. Sean Penn's direction is out of this world, Chris Menge's cinematography is vibrant and lush, the music by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer is simply haunting, and It's all topped off by a powerhouse of a performance by Jack Nicholson.
Let's face it, the story could be considered derivative, but it doesn't really matter when the technical elements are so fascinating and the themes that are interwoven are so dominant. By the end of the film, you'll be so invested in the story that it'll take awhile to realize the dark and devastating path that the film has taken you on. Truly, The Pledge is as engrossing as thrillers get.
All in all, a simply excellent film, and it's highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a quality slow-burn thriller.
Jack Nicholson is really one of our greats.
He delivers one of his all-time best performances as Jerry Black, a retired cop who thinks his last case on the job closed too easily. The story, refreshingly, is not about the ongoing murder mystery of the little girl in the red dress. This is a film about Jerry Black, a man who simply cannot let go.
Sean Penn surehandedly directs this meandering, almost lyrical, drama that is peppered by a cast of greats, old and new. The standout is Aaron Eckhart, who provides an original spin to the cliched character of a cocky, arrogant, younger partner.
"The Pledge" also featured a finale that kept me guessing, though I should have known that what was bound to happen would be completely inevitable.
On a re-watch some ten or so years later, Sean Penn's film has lost a considerable amount of its effect. What at first appeared to be a powerful character study now reveals itself to be a heavy-handed, poorly written drama that falls dangerously close to the type of generic TV fillers you could nod off to, wake up near the end and still recall everything you've missed.
It is quite a feat to make Jack Nicholson look poor in any film yet that is exactly what Penn achieves. A lack of ingenuity in the story department would be fine if this was even a half decent character study, which it is not. He is one of the few actors whose…
It had been years since I last saw this one, and it still stands as my favorite Sean Penn-directed film and one of the more overlooked films of the entire decade of the 2000's.
Nicholson gives his strongest late career performance here as Jerry, a homicide detective whose retirement comes simultaneous with the emergence of a haunting child murderer case, and it cannot leave his conscience. No matter how much he tries to ignore the lingering images and effect that this particular case has on him, with attempted trips out of town and out of country to catch up on his beloved hobby of fishing, he cannot escape it.
Stunning direction from Penn is complemented by a variety of terrific actors in the ensemble cast to make this a taut thriller. Everything culminates in one of the more daring and unexpected endings from a film of this kind that I have ever seen.
A nearly perfect film.
With his measured crime thriller The Pledge, Sean Penn eschews typical clichés in favour of a more ambiguous, introspective take on the genre. Detailed characters, rich subtext, a haunting atmosphere and stylistic flair transform a simple, methodical murder mystery into an engrossing psychological study of obsession and psychosis.
A reinvigorated Jack Nicholson, in the central role as a retiring homicide detective with one last case to solve, echoes the dominant dynamism of his early performances to provide an uncompromising, subtle presentation of obsession, loneliness and folly. He’s been by no means below par in recent years, but it’s not since the late eighties that audiences have witnessed a performance of this calibre from the commanding actor.
As a director Penn lacks Kubrick’s unrivalled consistency and diversity, but here he’s certainly on par with the legendary filmmaker in terms of atmosphere, tone and attention to detail. The result is a demanding crime thriller that delivers on all fronts.
Sean Penn produces a delicately composed work which recalls the best movies of the genre such as 'Zodiac', with the haunting, suspenseful last act of the movie a true subversion of the genre as Roger Ebert pointed out. Directed with style, but also a much more subtle and free flowing touch than his previous work, Penn seems to come of age and mature as a director.
Nicholson is one of the greatest actors of all time and gives a truly great showing, with one of his most subtle performances to rank alongside the performances of 'Reds', as a part in which he has none of the ticks or manic moments which most seem to associate with his work. What you can see in his eyes with this movie is more than enough to kill a thousand words.
One of R.E.'s "Great Films".
A slow, deliberate film that gives equal emphasis to both plot and character. A retired cop makes a Pledge to the mother of a murdered child that he will find the killer; it becomes his myopic obsession. The cop (Nicholson) sees a tend and sets up another young girl as bait for the murderer's next strike.
Nicholson is outstanding, and convincing as the paranoid and driven man bent on finding the killer. The story move a little slowly for my taste, but not in a disruptive manner. Sean Penn does get a little too "directorly" with some of his angles, scenes and use of music. But he eventually settles into a pretty good film. The ending is controversial, but it is not predictable: interesting is good.
This would make for a terrific, extremely depressing double feature with Prisoners. The movie, about a retired cop (Jack Nicholson) who goes to troubling lengths to catch a child killer, having promised the mother of one of the killer's victims (Patricia Clarkson, great in her few scenes) that he would, is solidly directed by Sean Penn, aside from a few stylistic hiccups that would become a bigger issue in his next movie, Into the Wild. The movie also muddles the details of how it arrives at its unusual ending, and it took me a few minutes to catch up. I admire Penn and Jack Nicholson, though, for insisting on and committing to this story, which was never going to be…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I don't think this is that great - it is slightly interesting in the way it subverts expectations at the very end... but that is pretty much only the last 5% of the film. Otherwise, I mean... it seems pretty cliched a lot of the time, hitting many beats familiar to anyone with a knowledge of crime stories. And yes, the cinematography is mostly pleasing - though I would not say amazing, and there were a lot of quite frankly jarring (and I think ugly) weird smash cuts. Sometimes they made me laugh like in a scene where you are supposed to think a child has gone missing, the camera randomly smash-zooms on a smoking clown.
I don't think even…
I urge you to watch the original 'Es geschah am helllichten Tag' instead.
An engaging and surprisingly sombre mystery-crime film, complete with a good performance from Jack Nicholson (as a retired cop hunting a killer), a stellar cast and a powerful ending.
God I miss Jack Nicholson... His introspective performance in the film is really the highlight of The Pledge. All due respect to talented cast and crew assembled for the film but Jack is the shining star here and the reason to see this film and he delivers. The Pledge is the story of a newly retired police detective's obsession with finding who he perceives to be killer of young girls at large within rural Nevada. The Pledge is director Sean Penn's 3rd feature film and co-stars Penn's then wife Robin Wright. The film falls within your typical police procedural tropes. The lone twist being that the officer in question is retired and has seemingly dedicated his retirement to apprehending a…
What begins as an ordinary (and, at least in my opinion, dull) psycho-thriller, ends up being a rather surprising look into obsession and coincidence.
Nicholson does well playing an abnormally "straight" character.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- The Captive
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language 3D
- The Homesman
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the festival began in 1946.…
- Blind Date
- Boogie Nights
- The Burning
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid