Friday, November 26, 2010

The Pledge. A-

The Pledge represents one of the best detective stories in the last twenty years. I say this because the movie not only finds the perfect balance between attention to plot and character, but because it has absolutely genius moments of suspense. And though the movie's main goal is to examine the psychological world of the retired police detective investigating a brutal murder, I loved it for providing scene after scene that had me guessing and switching things around in my head over the way things really were. One example is at the beginning of the movie when we see a young boy stumbling upon the murder scene while playing in the snow. We think he's completely innocent of course, and actually forget about him after his first scene. Then later we see him in a local parade and suddenly I was convinced that maybe he was involved somehow. There was no logical reason for me to think this, but since we're in the head of this obsessed ex-detective, we think anyone who looks slightly suspicious is somehow guilty. Jack Nicholson plays the former cop, a man who has promised to find the victim of the murder. This pledge becomes a consuming addiction not just because Nicholson has vowed to find the killer, but because he has befriended a single mom and is worried that her young daughter will be the next victim. This is a special movie for anybody who likes these kinds of stories. I don't want to write too much about it, but I will add that immediate suspect is arrested and then confesses to the crime and then shoots himself. And that's near the beginning of the film.

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