The Last Castle | Chicago Reader

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Robert Redford and James Gandolfini square off in this engrossing if standard-issue prison drama directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender). Redford plays a revered general and former POW who's court-martialed for insubordination in Burundi and incarcerated in a military penitentiary; as written, his character is mainly a series of aphorisms on the nature of war, and Gandolfini steals every scene as the reptilian warden, whose awe toward the general collides with his need to keep order. Screenwriters David Scarpa and Graham Yost draw heavily on Cool Hand Luke and The Dirty Dozen as Redford embraces the old Hollywood paradox of honoring the military through insurrection. By the end their story is a lot like the prisoners' improvised weaponry: highly improbable but sturdy enough to achieve its objective, which is blowing things up. With Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton, and Delroy Lindo. 120 min.

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