The Last Castle (2001) – Encore Review


“[over the radio] Colonel. I’m taking command of your prison.” – Irwin

Number of Times Seen – at least 5 (26 March 2002 in Theater, DVD, 29 Jun 2013 and 10 Nov 2020)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – After a disgraced Army General is sent to a military prison, the inmates join forces with him in trying to stop the sadistic commandant.

My Take on it – This is a film that I have loved ever since I first saw it in the theater when it came out over 18 years ago.

They do a wonderful job capturing the essence and spirit of military chain of command and the life soldiers lead.

The way that the lot plays out makes it feel as if we are watching a love action game of chess or stratego that is filled with so much strategy between the two main characters who are in a battle of wits with one another to win the hearts and minds of the inmates.

The cast is amazing and both Robert Redford and James Gandolfini are able to bring so much gusto and presence to their characters.

It is so much fun watching each of them try to outwit the other and gain the confidence of the rest of the men.

The supporting cast is also great and this helps the story as the conflict is escalated between both sides because of the strength of all of the characters who lend a hand.

The film’s dialogue is perfectly written by Writer/director Rod Lurie, who once again shows how adept he can be in these roles.

The words that these characters speak add so much depth to their characters and the situation they all find themselves in.

The film’s pacing is done really well and there are almost no lulls in the action as the story moves forward in such an engaging way throughout.

Bottom Line – Amazing film that is able to capture the essence of military life and command. The story feels like a live action version of chess or stratego as the battle of wits between these two commanders rages on. Both Redford and Gandolfini are superb in their roles and it’s so much fun watching them try to outwit one another the whole way through. The supporting cast is also perfectly cast which is so helpful as the battle escalates more and more between the sides.  The dialogue by Lurie is great to listen to because it gives so much more depth to the characters and their situation. The pacing is superb and there are no lulls in the action of this film the whole way through. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Robert Redford had trouble with his saluting at first. It took about twenty takes for him to do it right in the early scene where his character is, ironically, teaching Aguilar how to salute. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)

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