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The Last Castle More at IMDbPro »

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Pretty routine for a Prison film, but not bad; Gandolfini & Redford are awesome

Author: callanvass from victoria b.c canada
15 September 2013

(plot) A court-martialed general manages to fire up over a thousand prisoners and rebel against the corrupt system that imprisoned him. The only problem is that James Gandolfini stands in his way

I didn't dislike Last Castle at all. As a matter of fact, I had a decent time with it. It pushed some emotional buttons for me, and passed the time nicely. At over two hours long, I didn't look at the clock once. The acting is phenomenal, and the story does more than enough to engage your interest. The problem? It's a little too routine, and has a "Been here, done that" aura surrounding it. But it's above the norm for the acting, and the acting alone. Redford & Gandolfini are both outstanding. Redford is the perfect hero in every way. He is able to make us believe in his plight, and I couldn't wait to see him get back at Gandolfini. James Gandolfini plays one of the most heartless people I've ever seen. I hated him, and that just shows how good of an actor he is. Mark Ruffalo is also excellent in one of his earlier roles

Final Thoughts: I did like it, but it is rather predictable as well. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. It has much more good than bad. Worth the watch


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Well Shot But Mindless

Author: pc95 from San Diego
21 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Directed by Rod Lurie, "The Last Castle" starring an elder Robert Redford and now late James Gandolfini is a well shot and edited drama and action movie concerning 2 men's brinkmanship and in-fighting the whole length of the movie. While there are quite a few interesting and well-acted scenes and characters, I kept having thoughts of "spy-vs-spy" while watching this. It seems to be intended to be another feel-good prison movie, but it's no-where near the layered level of say "Shawshank Redemption". Here you have Gandolfini's character slighted and hell-bent on getting back at the Redford who actually seems to underact his role. There are mentions of honor, code of conduct and the general list of military protocol, but they don't really fit - as the characters are prisoners. (spoiler) The ending is supposed to be poignant but it is too choreographed and predictable. Whatever the message is supposed to be it seems lost, and the movie on the whole seems mindless.

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Get your daily dose of violence in a nice package

Author: Avid Climber from Montreal, Canada
7 June 2013

The Last Castle is an army feel good movie set in an prison.

The good. Well planned out tactics. Solid action. A bit of suspense and intrigue. Nice acting. Well paced scenario.

The actors. Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Delroy Lindo give us a credible performance. Their lack of brilliance is not a reflection of their capabilities, but rather what they were given to work with.

The bad. Too much army heroic mentality. Not every soldier is like that.

The ugly. Single minded characters, lack of normal complexity.

The result. A satisfying testosterone flick. Do not expect more.

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Great movie, if a little far-fetched.

Author: Daniel and Svetlana from Kilauea, HI
24 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story is in my opinion very unique. It might have some parallels to the occasional "prison gone bad" movie, but sometimes details can't be helped. In this case, I think that The Last Castle stood completely on its own.

The acting was spectacular among the big names, and the secondary cast did a very good job of representing not only the general feeling of the movie, but with specific and importantly individual personalities.

The grand finale of the movie to which it spends excellent time building is admittedly far-fetched. For instance, I find it rather unlikely that a bunch of military felons could have constructed a working trebuchet in complete secrecy, and even more unlikely to take control of a flying crowd-control helicopter. Still, even with these details the story did go a long way to explaining at least the basics of how it was conceived, planned, prepared and executed.

Even at this, the movie is absolutely worth it, and enjoyable even if you might have to raise an eyebrow at the occasional detail. If you keep a DVD or BluRay collection, this is a must-have.

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Nice Try

Author: ( from Philadelphia
25 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This well-mounted and somewhat dark production features Robert Redford as a fallen general, imprisoned in a picturesque American military penal installation run by the mentally precarious James Gandolfini.

With good production values and good performances by the leads and supporting players, the movie fails on its premise and its surrender to Hollywoodization in the finale. The script would have us believe that every single prisoner will follow Redford's lead in taking over the facility for the purpose of getting Gandolfini canned ... every one of them! It would have us believe that the guards are uniformly sadistic, and asks us to believe that Redford can marshal a medieval campaign complete with weaponry, without being detected in advance.

And it never really explains WHY this man would resort to an uprising without having exhausted the official channels to obtain humanitarian treatment in the prison.

All in all, we have a pretty good first hour followed by an unbelievable conclusion. I noticed that most of the reviewers of this movie on this site are from other countries, indicating that the picture went almost entirely unnoticed domestically; unusual for a Robert Redford picture, and one may only think that Mr. Redford either needed the money (hope not!) or was doing someone a favor.

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Don't rent this movie, but when it is on the television, sit back and enjoy

Author: imdb-6009 from Netherlands
15 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Redford against the system. Redford is an imprisoned general, trying to beat the system. Of course the 'boss' of the prison is very picky on Redford. He sees him as a threat for his own status. By 'attacking' Redford and making his live miserable, he is kinda undermining his own position. Very predictable movie / film. Entertaining enough though. I would not rent it, but when it is on the TV, it is good enough to stay at home to watch it. Get some popcorn and enjoy. Good for an evening of entertainment. Don't expect any strange things happening. Although... at the end... but you have to watch for yourself. Redford is acting OK in this movie. Overall I give it a 5-er.

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Leadership roles

Author: Mark Rincon
17 May 2003

Personally I thought this movie was O.K. Redford's style for this brand of movie did not quite fit (the type of movie being bad of course, the only reason it is O.K. is from the headlining names and acting being mostly well done). To get in depth to the film beyond the obtuse plot and the lack of reality, this story does have a few progressive figures that exemplify some major leadership qualities that I feel pick up the slack created by the producers and storytellers here. It wasn't what was in the script that held these qualities, but in the actor's demeanor and how they did things. Gandolfini really made me believe he was trying to do what was right by being a hard ass, but his twitchy manner and inherent fear of the prisoners also held that underlying feeling of him playing god. His manipulations and straight edge by the book rule, made him an effective leader to the guards (of whom several got a kick out of being the captors), but despised by the prisoners; while keeping them all in line. Gandolfini's character's only flaw as a leader figure was his lack of creativity in battle, for up until the time of the war (riot) he was straight forward and predictable and Redford's character had him chasing his own shadow. Now Redford's character (Gen. Irwin), was well written, he had inspiring speeches and courage, great networking ability and an excellent reputation. His coming to the prison made the movie a bit easy though, in my opinion it should have been a lower ranking officer who had to work twice as hard and long to inspire. Also, if anyone cares, did it seem like Redford was only half into this character? When he was there he was good, but it seemed like the other half he just said his lines and went home for the day. Some of the best acting came from the lesser-known names, like Clifton Collins Jr. (Cpl. Aguilar). Sometimes the simplest character can be the most stirring as this actor's portrayal was of a mason workers son and the protection of his pride (the wall). Another movie to see how well he acts (even though the movie's concept has been overdone) is 187. All in all with its good points, it needed something else to juice up the movie, maybe given more depth to events leading to Redford's incarceration or even his family. The vagueness of these personal ties almost made it impossible to become emotionally involved in the movie and left you hanging, waiting for it, by the end. So my recommendations are if you are going to see this movie, wait until someone else rents it and borrow it from them.

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Author: R-O-N-I-N
2 March 2003

Trite. Predictable. Inane.

Take your pick of the 3 words above. Watching "The Last Castle" made me think of each of them.

Just because a movie includes Robert Redford does not mean it is good. I felt I was being spoken to, (during Redford's opening and closing narrative ,) as if I was too dumb to realize his "castle rules."

This movie has been done before. References to the Vietnam War Memorial did not rub me the right way. I felt it was disrespectful, (but that's just me.)

This story could have been told MUCH better. The problem was that the director felt the need to shove the plot down the viewer's throat. Had director Rod Lurie taken the time to let plot develop and throw in a few moments of silence and contemplation, this could have been a great movie.

Instead, it goes right next to the "Blackhawk Down"'s and the "We Were Soldiers" as movies that tried too hard to be patriotic and in the process, sacrificed storyline.

4 out of 10

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One Final Stand for the Last Castle

Author: kato_76 from United States of America
28 February 2003

Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) is a three star general. During his service to his country, he became a war hero. A mistake he made landed him a prison sentence in `The Castle.' There he rebels against a cruel warden (James Gandolfini) when he finds out the warden is murdering his fellow inmates. Irwin is now uniting the prisoners, and taking command in this single, last fight for a just, true system, and to reveal the corrupt running of the prison to the world. Rod Lurie the director wants his audience to understand that we can make a difference. He wants us to know that we should never give up under any circumstances. We should risk every thing, and withstand anything or anybody who would get in the way of proving our point. The director wants to pump up our self-esteem. He wants to tell us we can change things for the better. He wants to empower us to want to fight for what we believe in. The prisoners in The Last Castle made a difference, we could too. There was a need for change, and the inmates unified to make that change happen. This film portrays a sense of honor, dedication, courage, and hope. It gets into us making us feel the glory of the moment. Irwin was the warden's hero, before he arrived at the prison, but by the end of the movie Irwin was the warden's worst enemy. While in the warden's office, Irwin made a comment about the warden's prized war artifact collection. That comment sparked the warden's new hatred for Irwin.

Irwin earned trust immediately from the other prisoners. The way he made them a working unit was amazing, because before Irwin not many of the inmates got along. `Hearts and minds.' He offers them what they need in exchange for their loyalty. The warden's flag in this movie is really important, because it stood for what the prisoners were fighting for. When I got to the end of the movie, I just sat back and thought about the other references to the flag and I understood the meaning.

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Doesn't earn what it seeks

Author: (discotvr) from Boston, Massachusetts
3 June 2002

I rented the DVD. I liked the idea of the movie. I didn't care if it was going to be predictable or cliched or a bit far-fetched. I was ready to feel good about heroism and leadership and good guys triumphing over oppression. I was disappointed. The filmmakers evidently thought they could deliver what I wanted by stringing together feel-good moments using contrived, cheezy plot details. What happened? Did they give the paragraph plot outline to an amateur to fill in? I did enjoy some of the acting, especially James Gandolfini as Colonel Winter, the warden. I did not find Redford compelling in his role as General Irwin. Maybe this was another shortcut - no need to develop the character, after all, its ROBERT REDFORD! 5/10

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