The Pledge (Sean Penn, 2000)
[originally posted 21Jan2002]
Watching this movie after reading the book upon which it is based has the distinct feeling one gets while watching a brand new Ferrari speeding towards a brick wall at a hundred twenty miles per hour. You know from the moment it comes into your view that something is terribly wrong, and you know what the outcome will be, yet you continue to watch in hopes that the driver will turn the wheel at the last minute and survive the spectacle. Unfortunately, The Pledge is like the Spyder that Elias Koteas used for the James Dean recreation in the film Crash—you know that the guy behind the wheel here not only wanted the crash to occur, but that the crash was ultimately the main reason for the existence of the situation. From there, the best thing you can do is pick it apart and take a twisted fascination in seeing how everything went so horribly wrong.