The Pledge
The Pledge

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Certificate: 15 | Released: 2001 | Duration: 1 hr 59 mins | Director: Sean Penn | Studio: Warner Home Video | Genres: Drama

Director Sean Penn's (THE INDIAN RUNNER, THE CROSSING GUARD) third film features Jack Nicholson as Jerry Black, a retired detective whose final case ultimately causes his slow descent into madness. In the midst of his retirement party, Black decides to join Detective Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart) on one last case. The molested body of an eight-year-old girl is found in the Nevada mountains. When the chief suspect turns out to be a mentally challenged Native American (Benicio Del Toro), Black is not convinced of his guilt des ... (Full plot summary below)

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Director Sean Penn's (THE INDIAN RUNNER, THE CROSSING GUARD) third film features Jack Nicholson as Jerry Black, a retired detective whose final case ultimately causes his slow descent into madness. In the midst of his retirement party, Black decides to join Detective Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart) on one last case. The molested body of an eight-year-old girl is found in the Nevada mountains. When the chief suspect turns out to be a mentally challenged Native American (Benicio Del Toro), Black is not convinced of his guilt despite his confession. Unable to forget the promise he made to the dead girl's mother that he would find her daughter's killer, Black becomes determined to catch a monster that no one else believes is out there. His resolve increases when he realizes that two similar unsolved murders occurred in the same area in recent years, and the case hits closer to home when Black befriends Lori (Robin Wright Penn), a waitress with a threatening ex-husband, and her eight-year old daughter, Chrissy (Pauline Roberts). Nicholson is compelling in this study of a man whose obsession slowly eats away at his sanity as he attempts to keep his promise by any means necessary.

On the eve of his retirement, Jerry Black faces the uncertainty of life after the police force. But when the body of a slain 8-year-old girl is discovered, Jerry solemnly swears to the grieving mother to capture the child's murderer. The dubious confession of a simpleminded ex-con and a psychological analysis of the little girl's drawings fuel Jerry's belief that the real culprit continues to prowl - and the detective's moral resolve teeters on the brink of a maddening and dangerous obsession in this gritty drama.

On the night of his retirement Jerry Blake promises the mother of a murdered girl that he will find her killer. He buys a filling station and searches for a tall man using clues from a drawing by the dead girl...

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Movie Reviews

New York Post - 8.8/10 by Lou Lumenick Not a film for all tastes, but it's a considerable artistic achievement.
USA Today - 7.5/10 by Mike Clark The movie wouldn't be imaginable without its commanding star. Nicholson is in virtually every scene underplaying to great effect
San Francisco Chronicle - 7.5/10 by Bob Graham Sets off depth charges of the psyche.
TNT RoughCut - 6.5/10 by Susannah Breslin Luckily, Penn's attentive directing and Nicholson's layered acting render The Pledge's occasionally questionable story permutations secondary to enjoying this emotionally powerful film of rare and grave subtlety.
Variety - 8.0/10 by Todd McCarthy Nicholson is outstanding as he gradually but tellingly sketches in aspects of a man driven by a mission that outstrips his instincts as a professional lawman.
Chicago Sun-Times - 8.8/10 by Roger Ebert Penn and Nicholson take risks with the material and elevate the movie to another, unanticipated, haunting level.
New York Magazine (Vulture) - 8.0/10 by Peter Rainer If Penn really lets these actors sing, his watchful camera also knows how to respect their silences.
New York Daily News - 7.5/10 by Jack Mathews Jack Nicholson in a performance that ranks among his best, yet leaves you feeling unfulfilled as never before.

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