Paul is a lonely screenwriter who has been suffering from a serious case of writer's block since his wife left him. As an act of charity, he picks up a hitchhiker named Jack on the way back to his wilderness home and offers him a bed for the night. The next morning, Jack makes breakfast and offers to do some much-needed chores around the house. He's an intense sort of man, though Paul thinks nothing of it until he catches him reading his unfinished script. Jack wants to help Paul write a better story and soon becomes more than a temporary guest at his house. When a series of abductions of young women hit the news, Paul starts to have suspicions about Jack and uncovers some unsettling clues. Soon he realises that he has become a hostage in his own house as Jack threatens violence on Paul and his brand new girlfriend Laura.
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The movie is billed as the true-life story of the film's director/co-writer Brian Goodman, a South Boston guy who spent a few years in jail before getting his break in Ted Demme's Monument Ave. and showing up in several projects by Rod Lurie (a producer on this film). Being that Goodman made a career in Hollywood as the kind of square-jawed tough who got mowed down by the G-Men in the final reel of an old Republic serial, it's fitting that his first project as filmmaker would be this scrappy piece about his pre-Hollywood life as a second-string Southie hoodlum.
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With the United States in the throes of an unexpected war, the timing may not seem right for a movie about military infighting. But "The Last Castle" has a certain popcorn-picture kind of flag-waving pride about it that is enormously satisfying and oddly apropos for this particular moment in history.
Robert Redford could be a gentleman's John Wayne in his starring role as Gen. Eugene Irwin, a highly decorated and revered Army officer beginning a 10-year sentence in military prison for leading his troops, against orders from the President, on a rescue mission that ended in catastrophe.
He's a humble but cocksure leader, greatly admired even by ironhanded warden Colonel Winters (James Gandolfini), who asks the general up to his office to shake his hand before having him shown to his cell. But Winters' respect soon turns to resentment as Irwin begins questioning his methods of managing the men in his jail -- nicknamed The Castle for its stately courtyard-and-towers design.
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