The dramatic story of larger-than-life politician Willie Stark (Sean Penn
), who transcended the poverty of the Great Depression to become the governor of Louisiana. While Stark begins his political career as a humble idealist, soon he has surrounded himself with strongmen to enforce his good-intentioned but iron rule. Stark brings in massive changes to help the poor, but the progressive initiatives he spearheads are won through questionable strong-arm tactics.
Meanwhile, Stark's tortured sidekick, Jack Burden (Jude Law), was born to an aristocratic family but betrays his roots to become Stark's closest aide-de-camp. A lifelong dilettante, Burden has abandoned many loves over the years, including his former sweetheart, Anne Stanton (Kate Winslet)—herself the daughter of a former governor. When Jack is asked to meddle in the private affairs of the esteemed Judge Irwin (Anthony Hopkins), he uncovers deeply disturbing secrets from his past.
Based on Robert Penn Warren's classic novel All The King's Men