The Last Castle (2001) Review

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When General Eugene Irwin was sent to military prison he was never going to stay quiet against Col. Winter the sadistic man in charge, making the soldiers band together to in a fight to be treated in better ways.

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Eugene Irwin was a very decorated member of the army being a Lieutenant General but he was sentenced to ten years at the military prison after he went against a presidential order which saw eight soldiers killed in Burundi. Colonel Winter is an admirer of the General and when he is transferred to the prison he wants to meet him immediately. They don’t get off to the best of starts when Winter overhears him criticising the military collection he has and says it is something an actual battlefield veteran would never have. Irwin did not realise he had heard this comment and it would make his life hell.

Acts of cruelty constantly take place from the guards to the prisoners and Winter is determined to tell them all that they are no longer prisoners and he has banned saluting between them as well. This is something that Irwin really struggles to deal with and he attempts to unify the prisoners, something that is not as simple as he may have first thought.

The way the plot moves forward is pretty inspiring as Irwin gives the men hope when they have been battered to believing that they are nothing. The use of rubber bullets to shoot them if they don’t get on the ground when the siren is made, which are fatal if the person is shot in the head.

Building the wall to create a castle like feel is something that they all begin to work together on. This annoys Winter even more although he tends to just watch from his office and rarely heads down to where the men are being kept. This is a really good way to show that he believes he is better than all of them and more of a solider even without his combat experience. He abuses the power he has been given and runs the place how he wants.

I found this film to be quite an interesting journey and that was without a doubt helped with the performances. Robert Redford really is an amazing engaging leading man and that is shown in this film. He is believable as a General and the respect shown towards him, his character was interesting because he never expected anything from anyone else. James Gandolfini was a lovely bad guy it has to be said, the mannerisms towards others and the being above the law was nailed in the best possible way. Not forgetting some support from Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton, Delory Lindo and Clifton Collins Jr standing out.

Considering I had not heard of this film prior to watching it I am very pleased to have given it the time. It is very interesting to think about the soldiers who are placed into military prison considering they are all highly trained and experienced in different ways. How did they end up not following the rules, we are given different examples in the different characters to the crime they committed.

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