Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

All the King’s Men (2006) is a perfect example of Oscar bait gone wrong. Proof that it’s not enough to have an all-star cast, a capable director, or a source material that already won several accolades. I haven’t seen too many bad dramas, but I know a bad remake when I see one. So many people expected All the King’s Men (2006) to sweep the Academy Awards before it even came out. Instead the movie bombed at the box office and holds a pathetic 11% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Director Steven Zaillian wrote a lot of great movies, but the biggest problem was execution. Even an impressive cast that includes Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson, and Mark Ruffalo wasn’t enough to elevate it. The original is only 1 hour & 49 minutes long, yet it covers so much more than a 2 hour & 8 minute movie. I don’t know how it can feel rushed and drag at the same time? The story is supposed to focus on the rise and fall of politician Willie Stark, but a lot more attention is given to the judge that he blackmails into dropping his impeachment case.

Stark’s political campaign almost feels like an afterthought. So many characters are shortchanged in the process. All the King’s Men always took place in the South, but now everyone has a thick hit or miss Southern accent. Penn never feels sympathetic as Stark. His loudmouthed performance is matched by the melodramatic tone. The remake reaches peak pretentiousness when it switches to black & white during the climax. All the King’s Men (2006) backfired on all possible fronts.

All the King's Men 2006

Willie Stark address the people

Remake of: All the King’s Men (1949)

6 thoughts on “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

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