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File:The Last Castle Theatrical 7718.jpg

The Last Castle is a 2001 drama film directed by Rod Lurie (the guy that did The Contender) and starring Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.

Eugene Irwin (Redford), a highly decorated U.S. Army Lieutenant General, is court martialed. He is sent to a maximum security military prison, run by iron-fisted warden Colonel Winter (Gandolfini). Should one of the prisoners piss Winter off, say by saluting a prisoner who is of a higher rank than them (which is not allowed), he subjects them to abusive treatment, such as shooting them in the head with a rubber bullet. This has resulted in the deaths of several of the prisoners. Eugene is disgusted and the other prisoners are aware of Eugene's legendary prowess and look up to him with significant reverence, so he organizes the prisoners into a makeshift army. They plan to wrest the prison from Winter's control from within so that he will be removed as warden...

The film was shot at 103-year-old former Tennessee State Prison in Nashville; the same prison The Green Mile was filmed at. Critical reception was mixed; while the acting and stuntwork are generally praised, an examination of the plot reveals Plot Holes and Fridge Logic.

Tropes used in The Last Castle include:
  • Fatal Family Photo: You just knew Irwin was gonna die when he took the photo of his kid into his pocket.
  • Foreshadowing: Dr. Lee Bernard mentions that a rubber bullet to the head can kill someone. This is what happens to Aguilar.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Cloud Strife plays The Dragon to Colonel Winters.
  • Jerkass: Beaupre
  • MacGyvering: Making riot shields out of tables, slingshots with rubber hoses, Molotov Cocktails with plastic bottles, a grappling hook, wooden siege weapons, and a bazooka out of an old metal pipe and an oxygen tank.
  • Plot Hole / Fridge Logic: How did the prisoners manufacture the weapons and hide them under Winter's observation?
    • Such as a 20-foot tall trebuchet?
      • Given the weapons criminals in a Super Max can it really that much of a hole? And they aren't nearly as well trained or diciplined.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Irwin.
  • Reverse Mole: Yates
  • Show, Don't Tell: One of the main criticisms against the movie. See Plot Hole.
  • So Okay It's Average
  • Split Diopter
  • Storming the Castle: A subversion. They're storming it from the inside.
  • Strange Salute: Since the prisoners have all been court-martialed and discharged they are no longer serving members in any branch of the United State military and, as such, saluting one another is forbidden. The prisoners pay respect to each other by holding their hand up near their temple and then brushing the hand back through their hair to differentiate it from a proper military salute. They also devise alternate forms of address, based on common comon forms of address like "boss," to use in place of previous ranks.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Irwin -- although it seems it was unintentional.
  • What an Idiot!: At the end of the movie, Winter shoots Irwin because he believes Irwin is trying to fly the American flag upside-down; if Winter had actually bothered to look at the flag, he would have seen it was raised right-side up. Justified as he was suffering from a Villainous Breakdown.
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