In no particular order.
A police chief about to retire pledges to help a woman find her daughter's killer. Based on a story by Swiss writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
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.
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,…
Dark and mysterious, interesting and entertaining, Jack Nicholson with a great supporting cast, an amazing ending, I can't ask for more.
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.
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…
A very, very bleak picture and an unusual but solid cop drama driven by a haunting soundtrack and strong acting. Beautiful setting; the people, the glimpses of places, all seem very real in a dusty way, with the snow and the Northwestern charm, amidst all those green, green trees.
Nicholson's talent sustained the emotional thread that was sadly only modestly supported by other aspects of the film. There were some gaps in the story's development and the editing seemed a bit choppy to me. Uneasy and unsatisfying.
This is an amazing movie. So fucking bleak. In Nicholson's top 5 best performances
Only inches from being a convential, forgettable crime flick, nonetheless the unique ending of it really knocked it out of the park and made it absolutely worth watching, even though a large part at first appears to be pretty generic apart from Nicholson's usual great performance!
Watched this one as part of our quest to watch all of Ebert's 4-star reviewed films. I can't say I think this one quite lived up to the hype, although it did feature a great, subtle performance by Jack Nicholson. Normally you're so aware of the actor himself as you watch him perform, but this time he was more mellow and more of an Everyman than we're accustomed to seeing. It's somewhat of a familiar trope - cop about to retire gets sucked in for One. Last. Case. While some clearly think the film rises above that somewhat overplayed story, I can't always agree. I think it worked best as a thriller - with so much at stake (a child's…
Harrowing. The directing, cinematography, editing, and Nicholson's performance are all incredibly compelling.
Benicio del Toro and Mickey Rourke were haunting, in very different ways and in spite of (or because of?) their very limited time on screen. In his one (ONE!) scene, Rourke is just breathtaking. It's a moment that staggers me. The man conveys such a depth of suffering and anguish, such flashing fierceness and broken pride, all of it mingled with heartbreaking fragility and devastating despair. All in the space of a mere two minutes. It's one of the best moments of performance I've ever seen.
Jack Nicholson is at his best when he holds back and restrains, so too Sean Penn (both as actor and here as director). Penn shows some skill in this character study/thriller with an impressive line-up of star power in bit roles. I'm not quite sure it's the revelation he's aiming for, but a mostly absorbing film nonetheless.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The most fascinating idea in this film is Nicholson's obsession. He is so driven that he will go to extreme lengths - using an innocent girl as bait to catch a serial killer. This obsession reminded me of James Stewart in Vertigo. It's powerful.
The depiction of Nicholson's mental state is very well achieved in the film, too, through use of lots of disjointed film grammar. It works well.
The shots in the turkey farm are stunning. And there's a beautiful shot of the young teenager in the police car - the back window is fogged up, so the blue and red lights are diffused by the fog, creating a really pretty frame. Beautiful cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. The Fourth…
Jack Nicholson and his obsessive search is a case study in the art of acting.
Very well directed.
Jack Nicholson is awesome right? In The Pledge he's on top of his game again. Playing a retired cop trying to finish a promise he made on the last 6 hours of his duty to a woman, who's daughter has been....
Yes, he's obsessive and he plays it amazingly. He also really rocks that moustache. Other awesome things are all the actors, Benicio Del Toro, Helen Mirren, Mickey Rourke, Aaron Eckhart etc. The soundtrack by Zimmer and Badelt. Sean Penn's directing. The way the film is shot. Everything is good.
And a story with such an ending, amazing. It's a slow burner, but hey, if you haven't seen it yet. Be sure to check it out!
Complete list. :-(