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Parents' Guide to

The Last Castle

By Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Prison action drama has language, violence, smoking.

Movie R 2001 131 minutes
The Last Castle Poster Image

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A movie that deals with somewhat conventional cinematic territory, this 2001 prison action drama is elevated by the sheer brilliance of the cast assembled. The Last Castle is a familiar story, ticking off the checklist expected from this genre. But it becomes something far greater than the screenplay deserved, thanks to, among others, Redford, Gandolfini, and a young Mark Ruffalo. Gandolfini in particular steals the show, as the late actor uses his remarkable ability to evoke empathy from the viewer, despite playing the most reprehensible of characters. You somehow find yourself feeling sorry for his sadistic warden, as the actor brings so much nuance to the character.

The film lets itself down somewhat with an overly dramatic final act, perhaps veering a little from realism in the process, and with a jarring sense of patriotism, including cliched footage of the U.S. flag blowing in the wind. But take that away and the story and performances do enough to ensure it remains an agreeable way to spend your time.

Movie Details

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