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The Pledge Review

Updated on June 28, 2020

The Pledge (2001) review

This film is a great example of a brilliant ride that ultimately leads to a crash, literally in this case. As good as the movie was, the ending makes it impossible for me to ever watch again, that is unless I get hit in the head, develop amnesia, and forget the horrible ending to this movie. Despite the brilliant acting, the ending made the whole thing fall a little short.

The Pledge (2001) is a mystery drama directed by Sean Penn. The screenplay was written by Jerry Kromolowski and Mary Olson-Kromolowski and stars Jack Nicholson, Aaron Eckhart and Robin Wright Penn. Jerry (Nicholson) is set to retire from a long career on the police force when the body of a little girl turns up. Jerry can’t help but look into the case, and in the process makes a pledge to the girl’s mother that he will find the killer. When the killer is seemingly caught, Jerry believes they have the wrong man and decides to go vigilante under the guise of retirement and continue pursuing the case. Soon he starts to question his own sanity.

Jack Nicholson is one of the greatest actors that has ever existed in my opinion. and like a fine wine, he only seems to get better with age. He played his role in this film flawlessly as usual. His character in this film had many layers and they all shined through in his performance. Also, Benicio Del Toro plays a small role but really shined with a genius bit of acting.

What a truly fun ride this was. The build up in the plot was brilliant, but why did they end it on such a bleak note? I think I understand the purpose and what they were going for with this ending, but it is my opinion that the conclusion could have been more fulfilling.

I would recommend this movie to you if you are a Jack Nicholson or a Benicio Del Toro fan. You will enjoy the journey but be prepared to feel disappointed at the end.


Film trivia

  • The Pledge had a budget of 35 million dollars and a worldwide gross of 29.4 million dollars.
  • This film was released on January 19, 2001. It was produced by Morgan Creek Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros.
  • This movie was filmed in British Columbia, Canada and Reno, Nevada.
  • Jack Nicholson's secretary in the movie, Jean, was played by Sean Penn's mother, Eileen Ryan.
  • Although this movie is set in Reno, Nevada, none of the other places named in the movie exist in Nevada.
  • The child murders depicted in this movie were loosely based on actual cases that had been worked by Detective Joe Depczynski, this movie's Technical Advisor. However, the cases were not thought to be the work of a single killer, as this movie depicted, nor did the real detective come to the same end that Detective Jerry Black (Nicholson) did.


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