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 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 »
[talking privately outside the prison]
You thought he was going to try to take me hostage?
Yes, sir, it was a precautionary move.
What the hell kind of grab-ass unit are you running here, Colonel?
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Such terrific entertainment. It's just a shame that it at the same time is such a bad film. Borrowing from numerous films like Shawshank Redemption, Murder in the First and The Great Escape to name a few, it is still somewhat different from what you expect.
The acting is eminent. Robert Redford does a fine performance as the reluctant hero, but two other actors are stealing the scenes even more so. The first is of course the fabulous James Gandolfini in a very different role than what we are used to from The Sopranos. I am a big fan of the TV series and I would never have thought that he would be able to play such a prick that I would actually hate him. The second actor worth extra praise is the new talent Mark Ruffalo who played so heartbreakingly well in the amazing You Can Count On Me from last year. He portrays an ordinary character with such heart and genuineness that the character becomes so much more interesting than it would with most actors.
The film is saved by its actors and its entertainment value. What pulls it down is all the logical errors and holes in the script. And I am sure many Americans will appreciate the excessive patriotism shown in the film, but it really gets too much.
Absolutely worth watching, but I have a feeling that this could have been so much more.
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