Starring: Sean Penn, Mark Ruffalo, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Jackie Earle Haley
Loosely based on Huey Long, Governor of the state of Louisiana, Willie Stark (Penn) worked as a small-town lawyer and was roped by the local political muscle, Tiny Duffy (Gandolfini) to run for governor. What Stark didn't know was that he was being fooled and he wasn't supposed to win. Upon learning of Duffy's ambitions he decides to run as Governor by himself and wins by a landslide. He reached to the poor and promised to uplift them from poverty and was against well-settled city people enjoying all the benefits, much to the ire of large oil companies. Jack Burden (Law) a noted journalist from an elitist family, became Stark's advisor in spite of being advised against taking the position by everyone around him. Stark was accused of creating public services but secretly using them to rob the state of taxpayers money to keep for himself. With these accusations against him, Stark was brought forward for impeachment in the senate and wanted Jack's god-father, Judge Irwin (Hopkins) to be on his side rather than against. Sean Penn is a brilliant adaptive actor which can be seen from Milk and this movie. His role as the Governor, bringing the correct accent and character and the fabulous performances were show-stealing. Not just his but the rest of the cast, including Law, put on fabulous performances and supported his character in every way. With such a line-up its not wrong to keep expectations high but its very wrong when these expectations fall to the ground. The story and plot execution is weak, the movie is very slow and can get a bit boring at times. Mostly its Stark's heavy accent that makes it hard to grasp the developments in the movie, but other elements of storyline also come into play in downplaying the movie greatly. The amazing performances seem to have no outcome whatsoever and the slow progress makes it very dull and boring.
Thumbs up: Strong performances
Thumbs down: Very dull, too slow