When Tory’s parents decide that they are going to move from bustling New York City to podunk West Virginia, he is angry that they are taking him away from all he knows. Once in West Virginia, he can’t find anything to do, so he accidentally gets into trouble by vandalizing a war memorial. As punishment, the judge sentences him to community service at a veteran’s home, even though his parents are anti-war. Tory hates the work at first but soon finds that he can find meaning and make a different no matter what.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
Much like A Christmas Tree Miracle, The Pledge has a random commitment to quality production—sometimes it has it while other times it does not. For example, the audio quality is sometimes good but sometimes quite poor. The soundtrack is average but camera work and video quality are fine. Sets and locations are also on par. However, there is too much reused footage and the editing is generally all over the place. In the end, it all comes out as average, but we have to wonder what this team is trying for.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Also like its Christmas counterpart, The Pledge wavers between being very meaningful and being very satirical. One moment the dialogue is dripping with obvious tongue-in-cheek sarcasm while another moment we are being shown the realities of post-combat trauma. We have no idea what the writers were going for here, but they had a lot of good ideas that were unfavorably mixed with unusual comedy. There is plenty of plot content to work with here, as well as a lot of interesting characters, but we don’t get to know them very well as too much dialogue is pedestrian. There are tons of opportunities for deeper development here that are not tapped into. In the end, we feel that this film could have been far better than this and are disappointed that it didn’t go all the way.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
While too many cast members are quite dry and boring and others outright smart alec or borderline crazy, they do tend to get better throughout the film. Emotions range from being flat to believable. Line delivery is also inconsistent. When all is said and done, the acting comes out as average.
The Route 40\Flyover Films team is extremely hard to figure. In their two films, they demonstrated great plot potential but also showed a lot of disingenuous sarcasm. What exactly are they going for? We may never truly know. All we know is that The Pledge had potential, but it was never brought out. While there is some meaning to be gleaned here and some parts are enjoyable, we just don’t know what to make of it all.
Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points