All the King's Men

User Score
5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 53
  2. Negative: 18 out of 53
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  1. JPP.
    Nov 6, 2006
    6
    Zaillian's reconstruction of 'All the King's Men' starts out decidedly strong with it's nicely written script and marvelous acting by Penn. Shortly after the election of Stark as governor though the film quickly loses it's drive and becomes a bit glum with only, sparse but nonetheless sharp moments. No one except for Penn is able to pull of a believable Zaillian's reconstruction of 'All the King's Men' starts out decidedly strong with it's nicely written script and marvelous acting by Penn. Shortly after the election of Stark as governor though the film quickly loses it's drive and becomes a bit glum with only, sparse but nonetheless sharp moments. No one except for Penn is able to pull of a believable Louisiana accent. (Hopkins, who plays Judge Irwin, doesn't even try.) It's too bad they aren't able to because the script is actually really good. Of course what else could we expect from Zaillian? He is after all the same person who wrote the screenplays for 'Gangs of New York' and 'Schindler's List'. Its not entirely the actor's fault that the movie isn't up to par. Where Zaillian's brilliant writing ends, his mediocre directing begins. When a movie is only two hours of length, yet feels to be three, you know something went wrong. The most awful moment would have to be just before the closing scenes, that being the assassination of Stark and death of his killer. It was horribly long, and painfully boring. Once they're dead, they're dead. There's no need for five minutes of aerial spinning around two dead bodies with close-ups here and there of their blood flowing into one stream. 'All the King's Men' isn't totally bad though. As I stated, Penn is great. The screen lights up with intensity and passion when he's speaking to the people. And although the other actors weren't capable of delivering stunning performances, the well written script makes the film good enough to sit and watch. The bottom line is, yes there was much more that could've been done to improve the film, but despite the weak direction and overall acting, 'All the King's Men' is highly underrated and is worth viewing at least once. Expand
  2. LR.
    Sep 22, 2006
    4
    The story line was hard to follow: too many flashbacks and rehashing of scenes that became tedious. At times, the dialogue was unintelligible and the accents were all over the place. Sean Penn was strong as usual but the direction was lacking. Overall a big disappoinment.
  3. GloriaB.
    Sep 23, 2006
    5
    Period was off -the 50's didn't look or sound like this in Lousiana.
  4. Rev.Rikard
    Sep 25, 2006
    5
    Sean Penn was mesmerizing. Jude Law played his role with perfect restraint and depth. The script was rich with enough memorable quotes to make you want to listen to the dialogue more than once. But where was the editor? This was one, long tedious film that didn't have to be. Someone must have thought the acting and script sufficient enough to ensnare the audience in the story. I, Sean Penn was mesmerizing. Jude Law played his role with perfect restraint and depth. The script was rich with enough memorable quotes to make you want to listen to the dialogue more than once. But where was the editor? This was one, long tedious film that didn't have to be. Someone must have thought the acting and script sufficient enough to ensnare the audience in the story. I, like many, grew weary of the repetitious story that dragged us through one familiar scene after another. Tragically we watched Sean Penn play his role passionately in speech after speech as relationships never moved beyond the superficial and the characters never developed beyond the personalities we encountered in the film's beginning. There is a place called the "cutting room floor" and it serves a purpose in good film making. This film would have benefited greatly had someone dared to realize the speeches were ringing with uncomfortable familiarity while questions about relationships and the motivations that drove each character remained unexplored territory. Instead, we were forced to endure one long afternoon contemplating what kind of film this might have been had someone understood there is power in succinctness. I was so wearied from the creeping pace that I welcomed the surprises at the end. I welcomed them, not because they were really surprising, but because they signaled the film might be drawing to a merciful close. I left this film more disappointed than any other film this year. An A-list cast, a Pulitzer winning story would raise the hopes of any lover of film. In despair I left thinking, " O, what might have been!" Expand
Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 37
  2. Negative: 13 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    You can, if you will, think of All the King's Men as a purely political parable, but that is to miss its blackest, bleakest meanings.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    40
    Overstuffed and fatally miscast, All the King's Men never comes to life.
  3. As Willie Stark, Sean Penn demonstrates how a great Method actor can make the world’s most unconvincing rabble-rouser.