In the 50's, in Louisiana, the smart populist, manipulative and wolf hick Willie Stark is elected governor with the support of the lower social classes. He joins a team composed of his bodyguard and friend Sugar Boy; the journalist from an aristocratic family Jack Burden; the lobbyist Tiny Duffy; and his mistress Sadie Burke, to face the opposition of the upper classes. When the influent Judge Irwin supports a group of politicians in their request of impeachment, Stark assigns Jack to find some dirtiness along the life of Irwin, leading to a tragedy in the end.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The film was a major flop, despite its strong cast, direction, and production team. Few critics endorsed it, despite garnering strong Oscar buzz before its initial opening. See more »
In the meeting at the pool hall, when Willie Stark first meets Mr. Duffy, Stark is introduced as the county treasurer of Mason City. The movie is set in Louisiana, which does not have counties. Therefore, he should have been called the parish treasurer. He is referred to properly by that title in the next scene in the newspaper office. See more »
They fooled you 1,000 times, just like they fooled me. But this time, I'll fool somebody. I'll stay in this race. I'm on my own and out for blood. Listen to me, you hicks! Lift up your eyes and look at God's blessed and unfly-blown truth. This is the truth! You're a hick. Nobody ever helped a hick but a hick himself. Listen to me, listen to me! They were going to use me to split the vote. But I'm standing here now on my hind legs. Even a dog can learn to do that. Are you standing on your hind ...
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'Your will is my strength, and your need is my justice'
Zaillian's 'All The King's Men' is a well shot film. I liked how he created the feel of the 50's Lousiana with dark washed-out colours, the costumes, cars, money, interior architecture and the simplistic settings. Some of the visuals are very impressive as they brilliantly highlight the darkness of that era. However, the script seems a little contrived. In spite of having a wonderful stellar cast that includes talents like Sean Penn, Jude Law, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Kathy Baker, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet (could anyone ask for a better cast?), none of the characters, (with the exception of Penn's Willie Stark and Law's Jack Burden) are fleshed out enough and none of them, with the exception of Ruffalo's Adam Stanton, are particularly likable. Not every actor masters the Southern diction but I'm glad that they spoke with an accent their more comfortable with than a forced Southern-I'm-chewing-glue-while-talking accent. Yet at the same time it was too obvious especially when Anthony Hopkins spoke with a British accent. All the actors do a fairly good job. The dialogues are a stand-out. I particularly liked how the characters played around with words, mostly the double-entendre. At some points the film moves at an extremely slow pace. We don't see much of the poverty, which Willie Stark claimed to demolish. We do see him build hospitals but a glimpse of the hardship of the poor people would have given us a better understanding of the depth of their difficulties. Instead all we see of them is when they're cheering Stark. In addition to that, the ending is very predictable. In a nutshell, 'All the King's Men' is an interesting but contrived film that could have been a lot better had the aforementioned flaws, especially the sketchy characters, been taken into account for reconsideration.
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