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Thursday, September 21, 2006

All the King's Men

Posted on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

***1/2
All the King's Men
Length: Single
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 2006-09-22
Cast: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Steven Zaillian
Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian, Robert Penn Warren
WorkNameSort: All the King's Men
Our Rating: 3.50
For this second adaptation of the 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winner All the King's Men, writer/director Steven Zaillian said he wanted to adhere more closely to the Robert Warren novel than did the multiple Oscar- winning first version, made in 1949 by Robert Rossen. As such, this new All the King's Men is appropriately novelistic and detailed, bearing all the fruits and trappings of a direct-from-the-book retelling. Warren's political parable of crushed idealism in 1940s New Orleans is given a generous treatment, and at its best has the lyrical scope and heft of a Godfather or Mystic River, if not the transcendence. The generosity is double-edged, though ' several scenes drag, particularly during an arduous set-up. Jude Law turns in a fine performance as the narrator and moral compass to Sean Penn's easily corrupted, bloviating zealot. Penn's histrionic acting, native drawl and all, will divide audiences; he overacts as always, only this time it's in character. Some clunky symbolism and Oscar-baiting portentousness weighs down an otherwise effective and timely drama.

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