The night he retires as a Nevada sheriff, Jerry Black pledges to the mother of a murdered girl that he will find the killer. Jerry doesn't believe the police arrested the right man; he discovers this is the third incident in the area in the recent past with victims young, blond, pretty, and small for their age. So he buys an old gas station in the mountains near the crimes in order to search for a tall man who drives a black station wagon, gives toy porcupines as gifts, and calls himself the wizard: clues from a drawing by the dead girl. Jerry's solitary life gives way to friendship with a woman and her small, blond daughter. Has Jerry neglected something that may prove fatal? Written by
The picture was a passion project for writer/director Sean Penn and actor Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, the screenplay was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood. Producer Elie Samaha, and his studio Franchise Pictures, who specialized in picking up screenplays in turnaround, quickly pounced on the material and signed up Penn and Nicholson for a reduced fee. The pair agreed as long as Penn could have complete creative and casting control. See more »
This was filmed in British Columbia, which is considerably wetter than the Sierra Nevada, and it shows. The shot of downtown Reno seems to be the only real scene from that region. See more »
Having seen "The Pledge" without knowing much about it, I got something other than what I bargained for. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If you're looking for a good whodunit, avoid this movie. If you're looking for a fast-paced thriller, avoid this movie. But if you're into seeing an intense character study bolstered by impressive acting and clever directing (kudos, Sean Penn), you've come to the right place.
I read one IMDB review calling this film Nicholson's worst ever. This is not true -- that reviewer obviously never saw "Man Trouble" -- but I can see why some folks really don't like this movie. It doesn't deliver what you'd expect, and what it does deliver is neither conventional nor uplifting. In fact, it's pretty depressing. But if you ponder the story afterward, you realize there's a certain dark justice at work here. Like, blacklight dark.
So then, "The Pledge" is not a light and frothy piece, but if you're the type who thinks watching some poor b**tard's descent into madness is entertainment, have at it.
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