"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, August 15, 2009

SNMR 7.1: "The Life of David Gale"

Welcome to the new and improved "Saturday Night Movie Reviews" (SNMR) format, kicking off series seven of my long running column. As you'll see, I'm adopting the post format that Scribe and I use over on our BIG SCREEN blog, because I like writing a review this way much better. As I said, I'm pressing on with this column, even though readership and comments are down to virtually nothing because I always love to give my opinion about stuff, whether asked for or not. I also happen to enjoy movies. A lot. What a perfect combination! I hope you enjoy reading my reviews as much as I like writing them.


Using flashbacks can be a risky way to tell a story. Sometimes it works and other times it does not. Fortunately with this film it works just fine.

Bitsy Bloom (Kate Winslet) is a hardened, veteran New York reporter fresh out of jail for protecting her sources. David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a former professor/ and anti death penalty advocate, now ironically himself a Texas death row convict, who was accused of rape and murder. Gale requests Bloom to do his lone, final interview. Believing he is guilty from the beginning she reluctantly agrees to go to Texas for the three day interview. What she learns during her sessions with Gale is revealing and shocking. During the course of the interview she is forced to reconsider her preconceived notion of Gale's guilt. Is he really guilty? Was it a set up? What she discovers outside of the interview is even more shocking. Can it be true? There's a twist at the end I didn't see coming.

Let's just say that if I tell you more of the story I'll ruin it for you.

This movie is a grueling look at the use of the death penalty in Texas, which annually leads the country in executions. It effectively raises the questions that always surround the use of the death penalty vs. lifetime imprisonment, which mainly revolve around, "Did they get it right?" However, this movie is not a mouthpiece for speaking out against the death penalty but attempts to provide a balanced view. It does indeed make you think about it and forces you to reach your own conclusions.

Veteran director Alan Parker (Pink Floyd The Wall, Evita, Mississippi Burning) does a wonderful job managing a superb trio of lead actors. Kate Winslet, Kevin Spacey and Laura Linney all give excellent performances. The supporting cast is also very good. Kate Winslet has long been one of my favorite actresses. Kevin Spacey is excellent more often than I like to admit and Laura Linney is still a very underrated actress.

The story has excellent depth and character development because at the end of the movie you are fully and emotionally invested in the result. It is interesting (as we learn in the DVD extras) that this was Charles Rudolph's first attempt at writing a screenplay, which gives hope for aspiring writers like me. However, I was disappointed to learn that this movie received no Academy Award nominations at all. None. Nada. Nyet. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

The DVD has some excellent extras which are entertaining, informative and worth watching.

You need to see this movie if you haven't already. If I can find it in the $5 DVD bin, I can see myself adding it to my movie collection one of these days.

***** out of *****

The Life of David Gale (2003, R, 131 minutes) starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Leon Rippy and Rhona Mitra. The film was directed by Alan Parker and written by Charles Randolph.

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At 16 August, 2009 19:17, Blogger Stephanie Faris said...

I saw this movie when it was out at the theater. All I remember is a really disturbing part involving Laura Linney and a bag... Is that the right movie? They all run together after a while! I remember really liking it.

At 16 August, 2009 19:43, Blogger green said...

Yes, that's the right movie. You should see it again sometime.


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