The Last Castle (2001)

ROD LURIE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB

USA, 2001.  DreamWorks, Robert Lawrence Productions.  Story by , Screenplay by David Scarpa, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Robert Redford plays a top-ranking Army general who is sent to military prison after directly disobeying an order from a higher member of the command chain. Once there, he befriends other convicts who are absolutely worn out with the sadistic colonel who runs the jail () and leads them in a revolt against him. Rod Lurie makes a disappointing follow-up to his brilliant film The Contender, unable to overcome the annoyingly jingoistic patriotism that the story keeps lapsing into. Hardly a moment passes by without a monologue inspiring a lush swell in the musical score, and after about the seventeenth time that that happens you might just find yourself getting tired of it. There are some great performances, especially Gandolfini and Mark Ruffalo as the one soldier who doesn’t know where his allegiance lies, but most of the film is reminiscent of better movies (The Shawshank Redemption for example) that you’ll be longing for while watching it. The ending is meant to be poetic but is just plain hokey.

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