All the King's Men (12A)
You're a lame duck, governor
Sunday 29 October 2006
All The King's Men is a film with a specific audience in mind, and that audience consists entirely of Academy Award voters. It's got a bombastic score and bucketloads of symbolism and period detail; it's based on a Pulitzer-winning novel; and the cast is like a middlebrow Ocean's Eleven: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson and Mark Ruffalo all get their barnstorming Oscar-clip speeches. If only All The King's Men were any good, it might have swept the boards at prize-giving time.
Like the 1949 version, which did indeed take home an armful of Oscars, it features a meek Louisiana salesman (Penn) who proves that power corrupts when he's elected as state governor. But in Steven Zaillian's film, the governor - an inflammatory demagogue, even though it's impossible to make out half of what he says - is suddenly demoted to a minor character, and the spotlight falls on Law, an ex-reporter who's become Penn's flunky. This jarring switch is just one sign of a bungled editing job which cuts out all the most crucial parts of the story.
Even the governor's transformation from incorruptible family man to lecherous monster happens as abruptly as if a passing witch had waved a wand and turned him into a frog. The film is like a jigsaw with half the pieces missing. Presumably, a less confusing, three-hour long cut is already being planned, so you should vote with your feet until then.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
- 2 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 3 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
- 4 16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
- 5 Witch doctor arrested after forcing newborn baby to walk in Indian village
Cannes Film Festival rejects women from red-carpet screening of pro-LGBT romance 'Carol' for not wearing high heels
'We didn't really think we'd get away with it': The astonishing story of how two young Irish men completed an audacious £7m art heist
Game of Thrones rape scene criticised as 'disgusting' by US senator Claire McCaskill who says she's 'done' with show
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 final: As Google celebrates the competition with a Doodle, here are 7 things you might not know
Beyonce angers fans by pouring expensive champagne into hot tub in Nicki Minaj 'Feeling Myself' video
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland