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The Last Castlerides high on a wave of American patriotism, respectful of military service and protocol, and primed to ignite anyone's passion for justice against corrupted ideals. This intense prison drama begins when a court-martialed three-star general (Robert Redford) is sentenced to military prison for defying a presidential command. The prison's warden (James Gandolfini) is a jealous martinet who's never seen combat, and when the jailed general seizes command of the prison to protest the warden's abuse of power,The Last Castleerupts toward a classic showdown between integrity and cowardice. Former critic and West Point graduate Rod Lurie (The Contender) directs this intimate battle with manipulative skill, appealing more to emotions than intelligence, but his stellar cast keeps the action on track, and a potent script returns flag-waving to its rightful place of honor.--Jeff Shannon
redford/gandolfini cannot save terrible script Redford is a 3 star general sentenced to 10 years, for what we later learn is sending men to die in a mission contradicting a presidential order. Gandolfini is the brutal military prison warden, who orders the death of a soldier/prisoner, inciting Redford to lead the men in revolt.
The problem is both men are cut from the same cloth, as the script poorly distinguishes them. This complexity is useful, but not when neither character is worth rooting for. The most telling scene is when a reluctant follower asks the ex-General if leading men is just moving pieces on a chessboard to him. Redford answers it is, and we infer this is 'the burden of command,' his book on warfare, i.e. the ends justify the means in battle. It is hard to become a pawn for the great military machine, when the cause is unjust or not worth the price. Here, the men can just follow the severe code versus revolt. While Gandolfini's warden goes too far, his justification of needing order is reasonable.
He tries to get Redford shipped out on mental issues, delusions of taking command. The problem is, Redford really does what the Warden says shows mental infirmity. As if he cant adjust to not commanding thousands, he invents a battle. The battle seems as much about the General's need to command troops and teach the Warden a lesson as anything else. No real reason was given as to why his personal connections could not have fixed the prison problems, and they were already going that way as Redford met with the Warden's superior, who 'put him on notice.'
In addition to poor character development, taking one step back the whole basis and execution of conflict in a prison yard is laughable. Last, the ending is so insipid, everyone who sees it will think of 5 ways it could have ended more intelligently. The film instead tries to make a tearjerker when no such ending was needed or justified.
A great film of the evil nature of man's institutions is One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. A great war film for moral ambiguity is Platoon. Last Castle is a must miss.
we all have a castle when i was watching the film,the last castle,i realised that we all need a castle inside of us,and we already have a castle,everyone dose.the story happened in a military prison,everyone prisoner in this place who was a soldier,in fact they still a soldier,but the Jail manager try to Destroys the last part of confindence of every of them.they do not even allowed to Salutes.think about it,the soldier in the jail,and the last Honorable thing has been taken.you can hear their suffering in their heart.Tears Flowing their blood.but in fact, we all need a castle inside of us,defence the power which trying to hurt us.things are have two side,in another hand the castle keeps us in,onec you have it,its hard to make a step out of it.thats way people always say:if you bulid a wall inside of you,keep others out of your mind,you never gonna communicate others. finally we need to walk out,even its hard to make it,this is something you might not make it whole your life,but never give to try,the thing we should bulid is confinence,not a wall.NOT SO MERRY CAMELOT When watching this excellent film, one must remember that this is a military prison, so one wouldn't expect the usual let's break in the new kid's butt or stab someone in the showers. THE LAST CASTLE makes sure the viewer understands that even if these guys are criminals and incarcerated, they are still soldiers and deserve the dignity and respect any human being deserves. It is the commandant's downfall that his lack of respect for anyone other than himself ushers in a new regime. Robert Redford is very good in the role of the General Irwin. At first, he seems reticent and willing to serve his ten year sentence, one that he realizes is justified. James Gandolfini brings a smarmy arrogance to his role as the commandant who smoozes all over Redford on his initial meeting, but then when Redford makes note of the fact that Gandolfini has never served time out on the battlefield, Gandolfini's jealousy prompts him to treat Redford just as he does everyone else! When several inmates inform Redford of some highly suspicious deaths, he decides to lead them in a takeover of the prison. The supporting cast is brilliant: Mark Ruffalo, Delroy Lindo, Steve Burton, Paul Calderon, Samuel Ball, Jeremy Childs, Clifton Collins jr. and Brian Goodman among them. Director Rod Lurie (The Contender) keeps things going and the climax battle is a doozy! A wonderful film that is both inspirational and thought-provoking. I liked it very much!!!