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The Last Castle (2001)

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A court-martialed general rallies together 1200 inmates to rise against the corrupt system that put him away.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dellwo
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Duffy (as Samuel Ball)
...
Cutbush
...
George W. Scott ...
Thumper
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Beaupre
...
Enriquez
Frank Military ...
Maurice Bullard ...
Sgt. McLaren
Nick Kokich ...
Pvt. Niebolt
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Storyline

When three star General Irwin is transferred to a maximum security military prison, its warden, Colonel Winter, can't hide his admiration towards the highly decorated and experienced soldier. Irwin has been stripped of his rank for disobedience in a mission, but not of fame. Colonel Winter, who runs the prison with an iron fist, deeply admires the General, but works with completely different methods in order to keep up discipline. After a short while, Irwin can feel Winter's unjust treatment of the inmates. He decides to teach Winter a lesson by taking over command of the facility and thus depriving him of his smug attitude. When Winter decides to participate in what he still thinks of as a game, it may already be too late to win. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A castle can only have one king

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Castle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,088,213 (USA) (19 October 2001)

Gross:

$18,208,078 (USA) (14 December 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Irwin is punished by being forced to move a huge pile of rocks, Robert Redford was offered fake featherweight props, but he chose to carry actual rocks to make it more realistic. See more »

Goofs

During the first firing of the trebuchet, the filmmakers reversed the image. It shows Tower #4 and the smokestack behind the trebuchet and it firing the stone to the left. If this was true, they would be shooting the rock away from the admin building. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Irwin: Take a look at a castle. Any castle. Now break down the key elements that make it a castle. They haven't changed in a thousand years. 1: Location. A site on high ground that commands the territory as far as the eye can see. 2: Protection. Big walls, walls strong enough to withstand a frontal attack. 3: A garrison. Men who are trained and willing to kill. 4: A flag. You tell your men you are soldiers and that's your flag. You tell them nobody takes our flag. And you raise that flag ...
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Connections

Referenced in Prisoner (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Ante Up (Robbing-Hoodz Theory)
Featuring Funkmaster Flex
Written by Jamal Grinnage, Eric Murry & Darryl Pittman
Performed by M.O.P.
Courtesy of Columbia Records/Loud Records LLC
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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User Reviews

Four-Square Entertainment
22 October 2001 | by (Orange, CA) – See all my reviews

In an era when most new filmmakers seem less concerned with story than with figuring out new and creative ways to possibly damage their camera equipment, it's encouraging to see someone like Rod Lurie come along. A former film critic, Lurie has emerged in the last few years as a maker of old-fashioned "good movies well made". He impressed me last year with the political drama "The Contender", and this year he brings us "The Last Castle", a prison picture that overcomes some dramatic potholes to provide a solid two hours' worth of entertainment.

The castle in question here is a maximum security military prison, home to the armed forces' toughest offenders. The whole place is ruled by Col. Winter (James Gandolfini), a tinpot tyrant who delights in turning his prisoners against one another. Make them forget they are soldiers, make them forget they are MEN, and you will win...that's Winter's philosophy. Then, a monkey wrench is thrown into the works, in the form of Gen. Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford), a much-decorated three-star general court-martialed for a battlefield infraction. Irwin immediately sees Winter for what he is, and as his weeks in the prison wear on, he begins to realize that he is surrounded by SOLDIERS, tough, competent, and ready to fight. All they need is a general to get behind...and a villain to rally against.

"The Last Castle" is a character-driven piece, and is carried by the strengths of its performances. Robert Redford takes a character who is admittedly rather sketchily written and, through sheer force of his charisma and personality, turns him into someone quirky and specific. Irwin is more like the Sundance Kid than any character Redford has played in some time: a rebel battling against a system that has arrayed insurmountable odds against him. This time, however, Irwin is a product of the system, and he knows its rules. Redford conveys that wisdom with a bemused grin or a mere flex of his craggy but still handsome face. This, folks, is star power.

The actors surrounding him put in equally fine work. James Gandolfini is miles away from "The Sopranos" as the despotic Col. Winter, and makes him a fine villain, loathsome yet pathetic and curiously affecting at the same time. Mark Ruffalo comfortably wears the role of the prison bookie, a cynic whose father was a Vietnam P.O.W. with Irwin, and Clifton Collins, so creepy and evil as the assassin Frankie Flowers in "Traffic", turns in a drastically different turn here as a stuttering corporal who first recognizes Irwin's greatness.

Lurie helms this material with assured confidence. He gives the film a gritty, authentic look and feel, he knows how to recognize a dramatic moment and pay it off, and he handles the film's quieter scenes and its boisterous action payoffs with equal elan. Any way you slice it, it's just good filmmaking.

Though David Scarpa and Graham Yost spike their screenplay with memorable moments and fine dialogue, they shoot themselves in the foot with third-act implausibilities (you'll find yourselves asking more than once, "Now how did they manage to throw THAT together?") and an abrupt finale that leaves too many unanswered questions.

Still, even with these problems, "The Last Castle" is a solid, rousing piece of mainstream entertainment. It's well-made, it tells a good story without insulting your intelligence or your good taste, and it showcases some fine acting by veterans and newcomers alike. And I bet Lurie didn't even break any of his cameras. I'm sure Dreamworks appreciates that, if nothing else.


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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