The night he retires as a Nevada sheriff, Jerry Black pledges to the mother of a murdered girl that he will find the killer. Jerry doesn't believe the police arrested the right man; he discovers this is the third incident in the area in the recent past with victims young, blond, pretty, and small for their age. So he buys an old gas station in the mountains near the crimes in order to search for a tall man who drives a black station wagon, gives toy porcupines as gifts, and calls himself the wizard: clues from a drawing by the dead girl. Jerry's solitary life gives way to friendship with a woman and her small, blond daughter. Has Jerry neglected something that may prove fatal? Written by
The picture was a passion project for writer/director Sean Penn and actor Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, the screenplay was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood. Producer Elie Samaha, and his studio Franchise Pictures, who specialized in picking up screenplays in turnaround, quickly pounced on the material and signed up Penn and Nicholson for a reduced fee. The pair agreed as long as Penn could have complete creative and casting control. See more »
This was filmed in British Columbia, which is considerably wetter than the Sierra Nevada, and it shows. The shot of downtown Reno seems to be the only real scene from that region. See more »
I had rather low expectations for The Pledge - even though I've admired Penn as an actor (Dead Man Walking, Racing With The Moon, etc.) I really didn't care much for his writing/directing attempts (Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard) so I finally got around to watching this on cable and I was not prepared for how intriguing, intelligent and emotionally powerful the movie was. Yes, obviously, from other people's comments, this isn't every one's cup of tea. Fine. You want quickie thriller, wall to wall action - go watch Con Air or something. Popcorn movies are fine. People need to turn off their brains and escape every now and then (Unfortunately for big budget movies - its more NOW and very rarely THEN)> So that is why I really enjoyed the slow pace and the ambiguity of the plot - it left things out there for you to find, to discover, to ponder. Nicholson - who is so capable of just phoning it in lately or just doing a gig for a paycheck (Anger Management - YIKES!!!) - but here he really delivers a strong, aching performance. He is surrounded by excellent actors (especially Del Toro, Eckhart and a very impressive tiny scene from Mickey Rourke). I know there are huge fans of the German book and the movie - I will seek them out. But I have watched this film twice and it is even more powerful the second time. One CAN be driven mad by NEVER knowing something so ghastly, something so important.
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