Robert Redford stars in this action drama as General Irwin, a respected three-star tactician whose career ends in disgrace when he's court-martialed and sent to The Castle, a maximum security military prison. Irwin quickly butts heads with the facility's autocratic warden, Colonel Winter (James Gandolfini), who runs his command with an iron fist, even killing prisoners when he deems it necessary. Irwin rallies his fellow convicts into a rag-tag army and leads them in a revolt against Winter, an action that the warden is ready to repel by violent means.
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 »
When Col. Winter sees the trebuchet, he says he has "no idea" what it is, but seconds later correctly calls it a trebuchet. Any graduate of the West Point US Military Academy should be easily able to identify one. See more »
A prisoner's fantasy: decorated U.S. General Robert Redford has been Court Marshalled for disobeying orders during wartime--which resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers--and is sent to a prison for violent criminals (!). He immediately gets on the wrong side of warden James Gandolfini and rallies the inmates to take control of the yard. Fairly typical genre picture with all the usual details, including the stuttering innocent whose bad treatment becomes a catalyst in the warring sides. The film is well-cast and has some fine passages, yet the heavy symbolism (with flying flags, chess moves and endless talk of castles) comes off as self-important in a movie which uses its entire second half to allow violent criminals to run roughshod over security. Redford gives a modest, self-effacing performance--he's so noble he's like visiting royalty; Gandolfini plays his Colonel like an offended child, affecting a soft but precise, lispy voice, giving the one-dimensional role some unexpected subtext. The handsomely photographed film looks great and works its way slyly on the viewer until all defenses are down, but in retrospect its earnestness seems woefully silly. **1/2 from ****
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