Friday, February 23, 2007

All the King's Men (2006)

The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian. Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is a man of the people, and for the people; at least that's what he tells the people. Propelled into a race for governor by opposing forces looking to split the "hick vote," Stark is convinced by a handler -- as well as by young journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law) -- to not kowtow to the powers that be. His rhetoric grows fiery, and he makes his way into office on a not-so-solid foundation of social-service promises. When idealism gives way to the harsh realities of the time, however, the fast-talking politico is quick to discover just how far one can fall when ambition and power lead to a betrayal of one's original motivations. Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins round out an all-star cast in this second version of Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 novel; the first won a parade of Oscars after its release in 1949.

Well it was as boring as this passage makes it out to be. Got so bored that I played video games instead.
All the King's Men (2006 film) was a remake of the All the King's Men (1949). I hope the original was better. There was an interesting portion of the original:
Jack is forced to abandon his belief in the "Great Twitch" when he attempts to blackmail life-long friend and political rival Judge Irwin. Rather than succumbing to the pressure imposed upon him, and also choosing not to tell Jack that he is his biological son, the judge decides to take his own life and shoots himself in the heart. This man who had sinned opted against self preservation and took the moral high road, thus demonstrating that he was not at the mercy of some unnameable, uncontrollable motivator.

The book also is replete with Oedipal imagery and themes, as Jack discovers his father's true identity, causes his death, and discovers who his mother is metaphorically and subsequently shows affection towards her. The idea of Jack's conception of his "father" is also crucial to the story.

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