Film >All the King's Men
For this second adaptation of the 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winner All the Kingís Men, writer/director Steven Zaillian said he wanted to adhere more closely to the Robert Warren novel than did the multiple Oscar- winning first version, made in 1949 by Robert Rossen. As such, this new All the Kingís Men is appropriately novelistic and detailed, bearing all the fruits and trappings of a direct-from-the-book retelling. Warrenís political parable of crushed idealism in 1940s New Orleans is given a generous treatment, and at its best has the lyrical scope and heft of a Godfather or Mystic River, if not the transcendence. The generosity is double-edged, though ó several scenes drag, particularly during an arduous set-up. Jude Law turns in a fine performance as the narrator and moral compass to Sean Pennís easily corrupted, bloviating zealot. Pennís histrionic acting, native drawl and all, will divide audiences; he overacts as always, only this time itís in character. Some clunky symbolism and Oscar-baiting portentousness weighs down an otherwise effective and timely drama.