Movie Reviews: The Last Castle




All Rights Reserved

     DreamWorks (2hr.)
     A three-star Army general is court-martialed, stripped of his rank and sentenced to the maximum security military prison, which is run by a corrupt warden.
     Robert Redford, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Calderon
Bottom Line:


With the Sept. 11, attacks fresh in our memories, "The Last Castle" couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Robert Redford’s prison-reform vehicle about a charismatic court-martialed Army general who plans to overthrow the sadistic warden (Mafioso James Gandolfini) in a military prison is just window dressing.

"The Last Castle" is actually about flag waving and saluting Old Glory. From the film’s opening shot, Redford narrates the importance of a castle and its flag. Patriotism and duty resound throughout the film to its stunning climax (reedited after the attack).

There is, however, a strong sense of military pride that pits Gen. Irwin (Redford) and Col. Winter (Gandolfini) against one another. Winter is a war history buff whose office with military artifacts such as guns, swords and knifes. At first Winter admires Irwin’s colorful Army career. He even asks Irwin to autograph a book Irwin had written on military strategies.

But things quickly turn for the worse when Winter overhears Irwin say that he could tell Winter has never spent a day in combat. Because if he did, Winter wouldn't collect artifacts that cost men's lives. Winter is insulted by Irwin’s comments, and the battle of wills ensues.

It doesn’t take long for the inmates to gravitate towards Irwin’s natural leadership. The General offers the prisoners their self-respect back by having the them tear down a sloppy replica of a castle they were building under Winter’s guidance. Irwin wants the men to take pride in themselves by rebuilding a better wall.

Irwin says, "It's not his castle. It's yours."

Irwin soon organizes the men into an Army regiment to take over the camp and fly its flag upside down signaling the prison is in distress. Delroy Lindo is excellently cast as Irwin’s friend and superior who asks Irwin for proof of Winter’s brutality. But Lindo’s talents are used too sparingly. Although "The Last Castle" is a metaphor for heavy-handed patriotism, it’s a surprising prison drama and a feel-good shot in the arm for America during these turbulent times.



Videos and DVDs
All Products

Search by Keywords