Jack Nicholson plays Jerry Black, a police detective, who on the eve of his retirement becomes involved in the investigation of the rape and murder of an 8 year old girl. Black promises the mother of the child on his soul`s salvation that he will find the perpetrator. Toby Jay Wadenah - Benicio del Toro - a native American with obvious mental deficiencies, confesses to the crime under interrogation by Black`s colleague Stan Krolak - Aaron Eckhart. But Black is not convinced he`s guilty and in his retirement continues the investigation, finding two other crimes in the area that seem to match. He buys a gas station because it`s logistically placed and because he thinks he has a clue to the sort of car the murderer drives. And it`s from here he meets Lori - Robin Wright Penn - and her daughter... Penn`s films are all about the dark places of the human soul and the light that occasionally shines. The Pledge questions the motives of Jerry Black - is he unable to give up what he was - a really good cop? Is he just an obsessive? Or is he just a keen fisherman on a quest for truth? Jack Nicholson gives a truly outstanding performance in this film, forgetting the easy mannerisms in the search for the truth of character. But there isn`t a faulty performance in the piece, and visually it`s very rewarding. It`s a challenging film and perhaps without the sense of redemption of his two earlier ones, but still it`s rivetting cinema experience.Comments from David StrattonThe best of the three films Sean Penn has directed so far, and a wonderful showcase for the talent of Jack Nicholson, this remake of the 1958 Swiss film Assault On Broad Daylight, also known as It Happened In Broad Daylight, written by Friedrich Durrenmatt, is extremely impressive. Nicholson`s portrayal of a man who sacrifices his retirement, his future, in order to keep the solemn vow he gave the mother of a murdered child, is one of his finest, and there`s a superb supporting cast.