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The Last Castle


The Last Castle (2001, Rod Lurie)

What's it about? When former war hero Lt. Gen. Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) gets first-hand experience of the sadistic regime in Col. Winter's (James Gandolfini) military prison, he rallies the inmates to force Winter to resign.

Who's in it? Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton, Delroy Lindo, Paul Calderon, Samuel Ball, Jeremy Childs, Clifton Collins Jr., George W. Scott, Brian Goodman.

Why did you watch it? It was on TV, and I was bored.

Why is it worth watching? It is, certainly, an entertaining movie, and despite the serious themes (abuse of power etc) and events it portrays there's a sly, almost light-hearted undertone to it that only gets stripped away at the very end. For the better part of the movie, there's a playful edge in Irwin's and Winter's power play, that lures the audience into a false security - until the ending effectively and quite shockingly takes that illusion away.
The actors are all doing a wonderful job; Redford and Gandolfini in particular manage to make the power struggle between their characters climactic and intense and entirely realistic. The Last Castle also remains the only movie to date where I actually liked Mark Ruffalo in.

On the other hand... The way the prisoners are portrayed as a decent bunch who, minor differences aside, get along great just didn't work for me. As Winter said at one point, they're not in jail because they had too many parking tickets, and it seems to be a far-fetched notion that they were all essentially good guys.

The final verdict: 7/10


I love movies, and I watch quite a lot of them in my free time. In this journal, you'll find my thoughts on movies I've recently seen - both new releases and older films.

Those aren't supposed to be actual journalistic reviews, just some personal, sometimes terribly subjective comments.

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