Tuesday, December 26, 2006

All the King's Men: Grade B


All the King’s Men (2006)

Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins

Director: Steven Zaillian

This story, based on the life of Huey Long, Louisiana’s famous politician of the 1930’s, is of a rural politician rising to become governor on a platform of overcoming corruption and providing services for the poor. He does all that but not without becoming corrupt himself. Unfortunately the story is so fragmented, it is impossible to understand the characters’ motivations or really, what the heck is going on. It’s even worse if you don’t know anything about Huey Long. Maybe the editors killed the narrative. However, Sean Penn delivers a fantastic performance and the movie is well worth seeing just for him. Jude Law does a good job but does not handle the Southern accent well. Anthony Hopkins shines brightly as ever. The photography is compelling, walking a line between modernist and 1930’s b&w. Very creative and very good looking. The sound engineering is appalling on the DVD. I cranked the treble up to max and the bass down to 0 and still had a hard time hearing the muddy sound track. Inexcusable. See it for Penn’s great acting.

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