All The King’s Men

All The King’s Men
Cast: Sean Penn
Studio: Columbia
Rating: 5/10

THE STORY: Based on Robert Penn Warren’s 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, All the King’s Men tells the story of an idealist’s rise to power in the world of Louisiana politics and the corruption that leads to his ultimate downfall. Written for the screen, directed and produced by Steven Zaillian, who won an Academy Award® for his adaptation of Schindler’s List, All the King’s Men features an all-star cast, including Oscar® winner Sean Penn (Mystic River, The Interpreter), Jude Law (Closer), Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland), James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April) and Academy Award® winner Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs).

All the King’s Men is a complex saga of human nature, power, corruption, idealism, romance and betrayal. Using politics as a framework to delve into the more profound dilemmas of human existence — sin, guilt and redemption — it explores the nature of corruption in a way that is timely and relevant today.

Warren’s acclaimed exploration of morality was inspired by the career Louisiana governor Huey P. Long and other political demagogues, and has profound effect on contemporary literature. Zaillian’s stylized treatment captures the essence of Warren’s novel, infusing it with classic noir elements.


THE REVIEW: All the King’s Men has as great a cast as any movie in the last few years. It’s amazing that a bunch of stars could have gotten a movie so wrong. There is nothing even worth writing about with All The King’s Men. This is as tired a mess as any movie I’ve seen this year.

The 2006 version makes a mockery of the Oscar 1946 classic. Why anyone found a need to do a remake the classic movie is beyond me. It’s hard to imagine how a Director like Steve Zaillian could get the remake so wrong. It’s truly a comedy of errors. Another surprise is how stiff nearly every actor comes off. Maybe it’s bad direction or a bad script—but somehow the brilliant Sean Penn is forgettable. The otherwise brilliant supporting cast does nothing to come out of the coma. Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, and Patricia Clarkson get handed nothing to do and are underutilized.

FRANKLY: All The King’s Men was a classic—in 1949. The 2006 version is an embarrassment of monumental proportions.

+ Charlie Craine

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