The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn, is another pick from 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen by Leonard Maltin. I think Maltin has a bit of a dark side because all the suggested movies I’ve seen so far have had a really dark side to them.
The Pledge is no different. It is the story of retiring detective Jerry Black, played by the amazing Jack Nicholson, who decides to check out one more murder–the brutal murder of a little girl. When the detective meets the parents they make him promise to find the killer. Shortly after a suspect is picked up but commits suicide. Black doesn’t believe the dead suspect is the killer and can’t let go of the case. When several similar unsolved cases come to light, he begins digging deeper into the crimes.
Time goes by and life goes on. Black buys an old gas station near where the murders had occured and builds a new life. He meets a young waitress with a little girl and they become a family. You will just begin to think that the murders are forgotten and then events bring them back into the foreground. The detective just can’t let go. When each lead doesn’t pan out, the murders go to the background of the movie again. The movie takes its time in revealing clues and between clues we get to enjoy the peace and quiet and beauty of the locale and we get to meet some great characters, played by some well-known actors like Helen Mirren and Sam Shepherd.
The ending is very surprising. I was expecting a great guns-blazin’ finish but that’s not what happens. What we learn is that there are no easy answers.
This movie is not for everyone but if you enjoy a good mystery-drama I think you are going to like it. Jack Nicholson is awesome.