The Last Castle

The Last Castle stars Robert Redford as General Irwin, a legendary officer who has been convicted of disobeying executive orders that directly led to the deaths of many soldiers under his command. The movie starts with his arrival to a maximum-security military prison. The warden of the penitentiary is Colonel Winter, played masterfully by James Gandolphini, lately of "Soprano" fame. Winter idolizes Irwin, but is determined to continue to run his prison as harshly as possible and to lend convict Irwin no special allowances for his previous rank or distinctions. Now is the Winter of Irwin's discontent. There are some great action scenes in this film. The camera work and lighting reinforce the moods of greyness and despair that mark a military prison. The acting by all involved is first rate. But there are problems with the script. The movie is too long. It forces you to make heroes of a bunch of killers and criminals while working to minimize the fact that Gandolphini's character is in command of a dangerous group. It does not play nearly enough with the idea that though Winter goes too far, he may be routinely saving the lives of his officers and men. Instead, we are meant to cheer for the convicts as they rise up and attempt to kill their guards.

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