My favorite war/military movie and thereby a highly underrated one in my opinion is The Last Castle starring Tony Soprano (aka James Gandolfini) and RobertRedford. The setting is a military prison-a place where arrested soldiers found guilty were brought. Gandolfini plays the warden whileRedford is a (technically former as he is a prisoner, but it intimates soldiers get their status back upon release) four star general who took one too many missions.
As the instant go-to leader for the entire prison population,Redford finds himself being approached by numerous inmates asking him to utilize any connections he has to put a stop to the corrupt warden. But see, the general is only there to “serve my time” and then play dominos with his grandson on the front porch. Not too much to ask, is it? Well, after the inmates come to him and he does a fair bit of observation himself, he decides to join the legion of inmates and create an uprising after sighting some UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice) allegations that deem the warden “unfit for duty”. Let the battle begin.
Tony Soprano takes this shit seriously
To the story telling. Movies that go over two hours and into the 2.5-3 hour range will always get points taken off by me for length. Most movies that long have at least one small scene that is probably 5 minutes in length that just drags. The Last Castle upon first viewing could very well be that to you too, but get through it and you realize it did a fairly decent job at story telling. You even see one solid character change, too. I mean, I do wish that the movie was shorter, but then I think about how the pace is and what happens and it works out for the best. I also found that the right actors were cast for each character. Everyone from the doctor to the bookie was perfect, and some people like the Sergeant Major and the doctor you just like from the start.
I went into this review thinking it would be 2 beers, but after thinking through the toast, I realized that the movie earned itself the highest marks. And as the reviewer I am okay with that if for no other reason because it is a damn good movie, but also because I don’t really go for many military movies. Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Black Hawk Down and the like are just not for me. However, if you want to count this, Captain America was insanely awesome and I will be buying it on blu ray when Marvel/Disney releases the Avengers box set in about 15 years.
You know I couldn’t mention Platoon without throwing this guy in…just be happy I didn’t opt for a Black Ops screen shot.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for the number of times General Irwin insults the warden (by accident or on purpose)
Take a Drink: for the randomness of the trebuchet
Drink a Shot: for the fundamental comparison of a castle to a prison