The Pledge

Watch The Pledge

"Detective Jerry Black has made a promise he can't break, to catch a killer he can't find."
  • R
  • 2001
  • 2 hr 4 min
  • 6.8  (67,200)
  • 71

The Pledge is a psychological thriller from 2001, directed by Sean Penn and starring an incredible ensemble cast led by Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del Toro, and Patricia Clarkson. The film follows Jerry Black (Nicholson), a retiring police detective who becomes obsessed with solving the murder of a young girl in a small, rural town. As he begins to unravel the mystery, Jerry becomes increasingly convinced that the killer is still out there, and he is determined to catch him before he can strike again.

At the heart of The Pledge is Nicholson's performance as Jerry, a man who has spent his entire career in law enforcement but is now faced with the most perplexing case of his life. To the outside world, Jerry seems like a broken man, but behind closed doors, he is doggedly determined to crack the case. Nicholson brings his trademark intensity to the role, imbuing Jerry with a quiet desperation that is both haunting and affecting.

Opposite Nicholson is the always-impressive Benicio Del Toro, who plays Toby, a mentally challenged man who becomes a key suspect in the case. Del Toro's performance is understated and powerful, as he imbues Toby with a sense of innocence that is both endearing and unsettling. Patricia Clarkson rounds out the leading trio as Margaret, a grieving mother who begins to share Jerry's obsession with finding her daughter's killer. Clarkson is masterful as always, giving a nuanced and layered performance that perfectly captures the pain and anguish of a parent who has lost a child.

The Pledge is a slow-burning thriller that eschews the usual genre tropes in favor of a more character-driven approach. Penn's direction is deliberate and measured, allowing the story to unfold at its own pace and allowing the audience to become fully invested in the characters and their motivations. The pacing may be too slow for some viewers, but those who stick with the film will be rewarded with a powerful and emotionally resonant story.

While the focus of the film is largely on Nicholson and his investigation, The Pledge also spends a significant amount of time exploring the impact that the murder has on the small town where it occurred. As Jerry delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of secrets and lies that threatens to tear the town apart. Penn portrays the residents with sensitivity and depth, creating a sense of place that is as vivid and tangible as any character in the film.

One of the most striking elements of The Pledge is its cinematography, which was helmed by Chris Menges. Menges' use of natural light and shadow creates an eerie and atmospheric tone that perfectly captures the film's sense of foreboding. The visuals are hauntingly beautiful, underscoring the film's exploration of the darker aspects of human nature.

The score, composed by Hans Zimmer, is equally impressive. Zimmer's haunting and melancholic music perfectly captures the film's tone, heightening the emotional impact of key scenes and adding to the overall sense of unease. The use of music in The Pledge is subtle but effective, creating an immersive and deeply affecting experience for the viewer.

Overall, The Pledge is a masterful exploration of grief, obsession, and the search for justice. Penn's direction is confident and assured, allowing the film's incredible cast to shine and creating a sense of tension and unease that lingers long after the credits roll. It may not be the most action-packed thriller out there, but for those willing to invest their time and attention, The Pledge is a deeply rewarding and emotionally resonant cinematic experience.

The Pledge is a 2001 crime movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 71.

The Pledge
Where to Watch The Pledge
The Pledge is available to watch free on Peacock, Plex, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Pledge for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (67,200)
  • Metascore