A Southern politician's (Sean Penn) idealism and good intentions give way to corruption after he becomes governor of Louisiana.
" [It] isn't going to win any awards for Law, a frantically hamming Penn or anyone else involved. "
" All the King's Men is full of bits that work; unfortunately, they never quite add up to a whole. "
" All the King's Men is miscast. The soundtrack is awful. The storyline is confusing. The cinematography is too slick and pretty, when we should be bathed in a sultry, sweaty, sticky, gritty atmosphere. "
" All the King's Men is obviously a movie that has been so rejiggered and downsized, in length and intelligence, that its guiding principles have been sacrificed to the marketplace -- a fate not unlike that of its blustery antihero. "
" All the King's Men is the noblest kind of film failure -- high-minded, literary, cautionary, well-cast and pretty well-acted. "
" All the King's Men was suspended in editing limbo for nearly a year, and the final result only makes the mind reel at what it could have been carved from. "
" Crawford showed us a man who sold his soul to do good and then, soulless, found himself incapable of resisting evil; Penn gives us a smart actor tearing into an awards-baiting role. "
" Failures on the scale of writer-director Steven Zaillian's All the King's Men are as rare as falling sequoias, and they make a noise even if no one's in the woods to hear them. "
" Instead of bringing this story to bustling, brilliant life, Zaillian and company make it feel as if it belongs behind a glass case in some museum. "
" It has a labored feel. The editing is choppy, allowing little of the film to flow naturally. "
" It's the kind of picture that is so eager to celebrate its self-importance and social significance, it suffocates under its own seriousness. "
" It's too full of itself; it's too convinced of its own value to be much of any to audiences. "
" It's Zaillian's overdirection that cooks this whole mess into a flavorless gumbo. He never shows you something just once when he could show it twice and never leaves a point unhammered home. "
" No use getting sore that one art form trumps another. It's not the first time an outstanding book became a ponderous film. "
" Sean Penn's work here is so mesmerizing, so intense, so guaranteed to put him front and centre when Oscar reads out the nominees, as to almost obscure the multiple failings of the misguided movie around it. "
" The director can't seem to find a natural rhythm for the movie -- it's portentous and vague at the same time. "
" The film isn't dreadful: it is just generally disappointing. "
" Ungainly and bloated with an unearned sense of self-importance, All the King's Men is nevertheless worth watching for Sean Penn's mesmerizing performance as a corrupt politician who exults in his own dirty ways. "
" Watching All the King's Men's downward tumble makes for perverse fun, with the emphasis on perverse. "
" What should have been an incisive study of the American political scene turns out a lumbering celluloid white elephant. "
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