The theme of the film and elements that address it
The emptiness that threatens police officers in their line of work is the core theme of the film The Pledge. The film makes an extreme statement dilemma, and vacuum is one of the issues many police officers face in their employment. This is evident from the way the film begins and finishes. It starts with Jerry Black murmuring to himself, and within the same screenshot, Jerry sat on a bench outside a gas station, mumbling the words that were not apparent.
The central theme is explored throughout the film; for example, at a retirement party, Jerry Black is immediately carried away by the murder of a young girl, and as a result, he offers to inform the parents at once, even promising to hunt the killer to end. What this scene shows is the indifference and emptiness of the police officers in their line of work, and they, in turn, are sometimes willing to go an extra mile to solve some mysterious cases they come across in their line of work. When a retiring Jerry Black offers to take over the case, it clearly shows how empty the life was. The dilemma part comes out well towards the end of the film, when Jerry risks the life of a young girl in an effort to catch the killer, who he does not find, and sits murmuring and wondering that the killer was out there, but he could do nothing now.

Film’s Elements Relation and Contribution to the Central Purpose


The narration of The Pledge contributes a lot to the theme of the film. The narration is not chronological, because it starts by Jerry murmuring alone sitting on a bench at a gas station – that is a depiction of emptiness, loneliness, and dilemma over what action to take. Immediately after that, the narration shifts to Jerry’s retirement party, which is interrupted by the news of a dead girl and an intention to go to a fishing expedition. This non-linear depiction of events achieves the effects the movie intended to reach – to paint the life of the police officers, especially those involved in criminal and murder investigation, and to depict the confusion that they face, the emptiness in their lives, and the dilemma which confronts them every day, especially on unresolved cases, which they have to live with, even if they know that the cases have not been dealt with properly.


The acting also achieves its objective of affirming the theme of the movie. It starts with a dead girl’s news. This line also flows out to the scene, where Jerry together with the mother of the girl is the main actor. The turn of events shift very first and sooner than later, the focus of the characters has shifted to Lori and Chrissy. Through this, the theme of emptiness and dilemma is affirmed.


The first camera shoots Jerry murmuring while sitting on a bench at a gas station. It catches the attention and brings out the movie’s element of confusion and loneliness. This, in turn, affirms the theme of the movie. Jerry fishing in the lake alone was also capturing the attention, but more importantly, affirming the central subject of the movie (Derting 20).


The pace and tempo of the movie is quick and faster at the beginning. Gradually, the tempo becomes slower when Jerry is looking forward to nailing the killer. However, some things hinder him from doing so. The editing of locations was captivating, the calm snow, where the body was found, was aimed at depicting the innocence.

Scenes Showing Director’s Style

The director is very straightforward, and this comes out very clear throughout the film, because he does not devolve in cunning or hard to crack scenarios – he gets direct to the point. For instance, a retirement party got interrupted by the news of a dead girl, and Jerry, who was the guest of honor of the party, got carried away. The director’s style is also intelligent – the whole story is a depiction of what many intellectuals ask themselves most of the time. It also draws upon how some police officers live with themselves, especially when it comes to the unresolved murders; this is particularly captured by the ending of the movie – Jerry does not succeed to solve the case he had pledged to solve, and the viewer wonders how he will live himself.

Personal Reactions

The film is a very intriguing movie depicting some aspects of the police officers, which sometimes complicate their lives, make them lonely, and even put them in more dilemmas. The theme of the film is very valid in the 21st century, where the issue of mysterious murder is on the rise and which police officers cannot resolve to the latter. I particularly liked the ending of the film, where Jerry does not fulfill his pledge; it, thus, brings home the point that people must always live with certain circumstances – the case was unresolved, but it is now closed; yet, deep down, everyone knows that the killer is still out in the wind and ready to kill again, but there is nothing to do now.

Work Cited

Derting, Kimberly. The Pledge. New York: Allison & Busby, 2012. Internet resource.

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