Read the Empire review of All The King's Men. Find out everything you need to know Release date 27 Oct ; Certificate tbc; Running time. All the King's Men movie reviews & Metacritic score: Based on Robert Penn Warren's Sony Pictures Releasing | Release Date: September 22, Release date. November 8, (). Running time. minutes. Country, United States. Language, English. Box office, $ million. All the King's Men is a American film noir written, produced, and directed by Robert . All the King's Men ( film, directed by Steven Zaillian and also based on Warren's.
All the King's Men (United States, 2006)
All the King's Men (2006)
Penn's arm waving doesn't come across as forced or inorganic. It is only at the end of the novel that Jack realizes this. Sean Penn's character is fully realized, but the other characters are not. It's a political soap opera from the first frame to the last.
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But this vicarious achievement will eventually fail; ultimately Jack realizes that one must "go out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time". The novel explores conceptions of Calvinist theology , such as original sin "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption, and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud," says Willie when told that no adverse information about an opponent would be likely to be found. Jack, Willie, and Adam all abandon idealism when they realize that nobody is pure and unblemished.
Another motif in the novel is the "Great Twitch. Jack's description of his trip contains overt and indirect references to the notion of Manifest Destiny , which becomes somewhat ironic when he comes back from it believing in the "Great Twitch.
This image becomes for him the encapsulating metaphor for the idea that "all life is but the dark heave of blood and the twitch of the nerve. The concept is brought to life for Jack when he witnesses a lobotomy performed by Adam Stanton.
The emotional distance permitted by this revelation releases Jack from his own frustration stemming from the relationship between Anne Stanton and his boss, and allows him to return to circumstances which were previously unbearable. Subsequent events including the tragic deaths of Governor Stark, Jack's lifelong friend Adam Stanton, and Judge Irwin, Jack's father convince Jack that the revelation of the "Great Twitch" is an insufficient paradigm to explain what he has seen of history.
They were doomed, but they lived in the agony of will. The book also touches on Oedipal themes, as Jack discovers his father's real identity after having caused his death. The theme of one's father's identity and its effects on one's own sense of identity is explored twice in the novel, first through Adam and Anne's painful discovery that their father the late Governor Stanton once assisted in the cover-up of a bribery scandal. Then Jack discovers that his biological father is Judge Irwin, not, as he previously believed, "the Scholarly Attorney".
In each case, the discovery catalyzes an upheaval in the character's moral outlook. Time is another of the novel's thematic fascinations. The idea that every moment in the past contains the seeds of the future is constantly explored through the novel's non-chronological narrative, which reveals character continuities and thematic connections across different time periods. Willie Stark[ edit ] The central character of Willie Stark often simply referred to as "the Boss" undergoes a radical transformation from an idealistic lawyer and weak gubernatorial candidate into a charismatic and extraordinarily powerful governor.
In achieving this office Stark comes to embrace various forms of corruption and builds an enormous political machine based on patronage and intimidation.
His approach to politics earns him many enemies in the state legislature, but does not detract from his popular appeal among many of his constituents, who respond with enthusiasm to his fiery populist manner. Stark's character is often thought to be inspired by the life of Huey P. Long , former governor of Louisiana and that state's U. Huey Long was at the zenith of his career when he was assassinated in ; just a year earlier, Robert Penn Warren had begun teaching at Louisiana State University.
In his introduction to the Modern Library edition, Warren denied that the book should be read as either praise for Huey Long or praise for his assassination. However, Warren did not deny that Long served as an influence or inspiration for Stark: One of the unfortunate characteristics of our time is that the reception of a novel may depend on its journalistic relevance.
It is a little graceless of me to call this characteristic unfortunate, and to quarrel with it, for certainly the journalistic relevance of All the King's Men had a good deal to do with what interest it evoked. This equation led, in different quarters, to quite contradictory interpretations of the novel.
On one hand, there were those who took the thing to be a not-so-covert biography of, and apologia for, Senator Long, and the author to be not less than a base minion of the great man. There is really nothing to reply to this innocent boneheadedness or gospel-bit hysteria. As Louis Armstrong is reported to have said, there's some folks that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em But on the other hand, there were those who took the thing to be a rousing declaration of democratic principles and a tract for the assassination of dictators.
This view, though somewhat more congenial to my personal political views, was almost as wide of the mark. For better or worse, Willie Stark was not Huey Long. Willie [Stark] was only himself My conception grew wider, but that element always remained, and Willie Stark remained, in one way, Willie Talos. In other words, Talos is the kind of doom that democracy may invite upon itself. The book, however, was never intended to be a book about politics.
Politics merely provided the framework story in which the deeper concerns, whatever their final significance, might work themselves out. His narrative is propelled in part by a fascination with the mystery of Stark's larger-than-life character, and equally by his struggle to discover some underlying principle to make sense of all that has happened.
In narrating the story, Jack commingles his own personal story with the political story of Governor Stark. His telling of these two stories side by side creates a striking contrast between the personal and the impersonal. While his wry, detached, often humorous tone suggests an attempt to stand apart from the other characters' passions and intrigues, the highly personal content of his narrative suggests an awareness that he cannot truthfully remove himself and his own history from the story of Willie Stark, because his own story has paralleled and helped shape the tragic outcome of Stark's story.
With inappropriate flash-forwards and badly placed flashbacks, All the King's Men lurches unsteadily forward amidst variable performances and impressive cinematography. 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 s 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. Anne's closeness to Stark deals a blow to Jack. I have heard it said that Sean Penn delivers a great performance as Stanton, but that impression is in error. Channeling the pulpit-pounding essence of Jonathan Edwards, Penn spits fire and brimstone in one of the most laughably over-the-top portrayals of his career. With the exception of I Am Sam, I have never been embarrassed by one of the actor's performances until now.
Penn's work is so one-dimensional and cartoonish that there's no hope of Stark becoming more than a blustering caricature. Adding to the problem is that Jack, the character at the film's emotional core, has no personality. Jude Law underplays the role, leaving us with a personality void. Kate Winslet's contribution is negligible. Only Anthony Hopkins emerges unscathed. The few scenes in which he participates are virtually the only ones in All the King's Men that ring with any degree of authenticity or urgency.