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Tony Grist

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The Pledge [Dec. 5th, 2004|11:09 am]
Tony Grist
Jack Nicholson swears "on his soul's salvation" to track down the killer of a murdered girl. We later learn that he's not religious. So why does his promise gnaw away at him so?

There have been genuflections in front of this movie because-

a. It tries very hard not to be Hollywood.
b. Sean Penn (the director) is allegedly cool.
c. Nicholson is really rather good in it.

But the character doesn't make sense. He's avuncular, he's laid-back and in the last reel he suddenly goes stark, staring mad. Is he a good guy who's been fucked over by God or a seething nutcase who's been putting up a convincing front? We don't see anything of his inner life so how can we tell?

And if we don't know what's going on inside him, why should we care?

Somewhere at the back of all this there's a novel(?) by Friedrich Durrenmatt. I'm thinking that what's happened is that it used to be a story about a catholic guilt trip, but- for whatever reasons- they took the motor out.

Turning your back on Hollywood doesn't automatically make you European and deep.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-12-05 12:44 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking that what's happened is that it used to be a story about a catholic guilt trip, but- for whatever reasons- they took the motor out.

Turning your back on Hollywood doesn't automatically make you European and deep.


Laughing out loud.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-05 01:02 pm (UTC)
This Pledge thing was a like a Hollywood movie with most of the cheesy stuff taken out, but not replaced with anything else.

And I want to know why a retired policeman- balding with a moustache- should exert such an irresistible fascination for younger women.

OK, I know Jack Nicholson is a charming old rascal but here he wasn't playing Jack Nicholson- he was playing dull old Joe Average.

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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-12-05 04:25 pm (UTC)
I find Sean Penn very annoying because he is supposed to be so deep.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-05 04:37 pm (UTC)
I think he's a good actor, but apart from that...
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-12-05 04:54 pm (UTC)
My support of him began to waver when I saw Mystic River. It is so OTT in its seriousness that I was inwardly sniggering and the last scene where the husband and wife manage to show their love and passion for each other AND watch the parade and show their communal roots within five minutes was daft!
the there was21 grams. Overall he was one of the better things in that film but the final monologue was awful. His voice grates horribley.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-05 05:00 pm (UTC)
21 Grams. I've seen it and I liked it but- dear me- I've already forgotten what it was all about.
I reckon the modish messing about with continuity couldn't disguise the essential weakness of the story.

The same director's Amores Perros was tons better.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2004-12-05 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yes yes and thrice yes.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-12-05 06:31 pm (UTC)
"Turning your back on Hollywood doesn't automatically make you European and deep."

Hee!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-06 08:45 am (UTC)
Team America hasn't surfaced yet over here. I'm looking forward to it.
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[User Picture]From: cdpoint
2004-12-06 03:21 am (UTC)
Durrenmatt's novel is about a fatal obsession, but the obsession is only superficially about finding an elusive killer. Durrenmatt's detective is really unable to deal with the randomness of a murder, and he sacrifices his soul for the possibility of finding the killer. The barmaid and her daughter are incidental to his obsession, and in the end he rots--while the real killer (a mental defective) is living just one town over.

I thought "The Pledge" started well, but it seemed Penn began to rush through things toward the end, as if he weren't confident in his viewers' ability to hang in with the story.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-12-06 08:51 am (UTC)
I got the feeling that Penn himself didn't know what the story was about. The film has the trappings of high seriousness, but no content.

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