Wandering through the empty theater with my partner was the first telltale sign of the disappointment that was to come. With out pick of the best seats, I waited excitedly for “All the King’s Men” to begin.
After all, it had the look and feel of an Oscar-worthy movie – with dark visuals, an intense plot and A-list actors – and is a remake of an earlier movie that won three out of the five Academy Awards it was nominated for.
Unfortunately my excitement was dashed in just the opening scenes.
The first issue I had with the movie was the heavy southern accents the actors used. I could not understand them. In the first scene, I missed very important dialogue between the two main characters, Willie Stark (Sean Penn) and Jack Burden (Jude Law). More troubling, which I found later, is how important that scene was to the characterization of Jack and Stark.
The main point of the story is, no matter who an individual is or how wonderful his or her ideas are to the people, power corrupts absolutely. To miss this vital dialogue was saddening. More than both actors’ physical acting was needed in order to illustrate the change of their characters.
Other problems I had were with the acting and the script itself. Law did the best job with his character development as the movie progressed, but still his efforts were flat and unmoving.
Penn had a character that had so many possibilities, but I never got the sense of change from good man to totally corrupt politician, merely that he was corrupt all along.
This could also be blamed on the writers, but actors do command some power in the characters they portray.
The largest issue I had with the movie was how there seemed to be two stories going on that did not successfully bind together well enough in order to tell the larger story. Instead it caused confusion and a dragging plot.
Looking back, I see that its purpose was for character development and to further the tension in the story.
Another aspect of this was the use of the same scenes in flashbacks. If the flashbacks were of new scenes or revealed new facets to the building story again it would have provided for a better viewing. But instead I was bombarded with scenes that I had already seen and did not present anything I didn’t already know or realize.
Overall, this movie only looked pretty but was plagued with bad accents, a poor script and was boring in general. If you really want to see this movie, I suggest renting it. I feel, even seeing the matinee, that I paid too much for what it was worth.