All The King's Men
Time brings all things to light.
Director: Stephen Zaillian
Starring: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins
2006 really is the year of the remake. Earlier this year was Poseidon, Pink Panther and The Wicker Man and now we have a take on Robert Warren Penn’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the King’s Men. The novel is a loosely fictionalised account of the rise and fall of Louisiana governor Huey Long, and the film moves steadily along, a real patchwork of the novel, but doing it justice and proving that books can be transferred successfully into film.
All the King's Men follows the rise to prominence of the "governor of the people," Willie Stark (Sean Penn), who wins the governorship of Louisiana in the early 1950s by a landslide victory. His pro-education, anti-business agenda earns him some powerful enemies, and charges of cronyism and corruption abound. Despite starting his political career as an idealist, Stark has become a ruthless politician, using blackmail and other forms of coercion to crush his enemies. His right-hand man is former journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law), who comes from money and is torn between supporting his friend and betraying his roots. Stark's most dangerous enemy is Judge Irwin (Anthony Hopkins), who is Jack's godfather and refuses to bend when Stark attacks. Also in the mix are Jack's former flame, Anne Stanton (Kate Winslet), and her brother, Adam (Mark Ruffalo).
The cast in this film is an impressive bundle. As expected, they deliver the goods. Penn delivers magnificent speeches, Law manages to underplay his role to great effect and Winslet is as impressive as ever. It is Hopkins though who steals the show, emphasizing authenticity and playing his role with great urgency.
All the King’s Men is compelling and impressive. Past films have indicated that it is very, very difficult to transfer a book to the screen. Elements get lost, plots get underdone and characters lose their real qualities. What Zaillian has done is create a film which does justice to the book yet also gets worthy praise as a film. The soundtrack is superb, as is the cinematography. Not to be missed.
Screenings of this film:
|2006/2007 Spring Term – (35mm)|