NEW Sarandon/penn/prosky/barry/erm - Dead Man Walking (1995) (Blu-ray)
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Top Customer Reviews
The movie itself is 5/5 stars.
The book does a great job of showing the disparity in how the death penalty is applied. It goes through the studies on its lack of effectiveness, and how for the most part, it is the poor and the African-American who are on death row. Even if you only read the appendices, the book will challenge you to view the death penalty in a different way.
The movie was the inspiration and starred Susan Sarandon. Sarandon was given the book while on a personal retreat at a monastery; she came home and gave the book to her partner, Tim Robbins, who directed the film. Together they approached Sr. Prejean, who went out and rented Bull Durham. She was a little leery of having them do the film, but after meeting with them went ahead with the project.
The film co-stars Sean Penn as Matthew Poncelet, a compilation of the 3 men in the book. The movie, while slow moving, is incredibly intense and draws you into the drama of waiting for a death when you know the date and time of that approaching death.
As an interesting aside, another good book is Forgiving the Dead Man Walking by Debbie Morris, who was one of the victims of Robert Lee Willie from the book. Debbie always said if they ever made a movie, Penn would have to play Willie because they looked so much alike.
So read the book and watch the movie, and if you want yet another challenging book, give Forgiving the Dead Man Walking a read also.
The main reason why I gave this movie four stars is that Tim Robbins provides changes of perspective and does not try to push the audience in one direction. Consequently every viewer of the film gets the chance to change his opinion about the death penalty. Besides the great performances by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon the film is worth seeing because it gives you the opportunity to see the matter capital punishment with other eyes.
Dead Man Walking does not spend so much effort on making the story exciting and unpredictable but therefor it does not fail on presenting all the characters and circumstances concerning the execution in a realistic, human and in an emotional way.
This movie is made plain, there isn't much to distract the audience from the question whether they plead for capital punishment or whether they not. And this is what I like most about this movie: It is not interested in forcing one right opinion about the death penalty upon the audience, but wants you to contemplate about this topic and further about death, forgivness, faith and unlimited love.
By using flashbacks throughout the movie, Tim Robbins created a movie that is shifting between reality, imagination and the past history of the plot. The flashbacks are very well used to show the thoughts and impressions that Sister Helen has about Matt. Matthew Poncelet is like a puzzle - the more you see of him during the movie the clearer becomes the image of his character. However, it is left to the viewer whether it comes out to a positive or negative image.
This movie is unique because it shows another kind of 'hero' than the usual brutal heroes that are presented in every other Hollywood movie.
However, there are a few points to critisize about it:
First of all the story is a little bit overloaded with religious elements - especially in the end. This is kind of a black-and-white portrayal of the fact that religion or christianity is the only way to receive redemption.
Another point of criticism are the rather heavy accents of the protagonist that made it almost imposible to understand the movie just by listening to the dialogs. However, I don't want to blame the movie for it - at least not entirely since my problems in understanding could also be a result of my personal inability. ;-)
All in all I recommend this movie since it is extremely famous and you must have seen it!!
Most recent customer reviews
I had watched this movie on DVD when it came out and found this to be a very difficult movie to watch again. Read morePublished on June 12 2012 by Duchess
I swear I had this movie in 2 days. Fast and the movie is in store new contition. Thank you:)Published on July 12 2011 by Karen
ive seen this movie several times,and as he usually does, sean penn walks away with this movie. as the doomed murder he brings an intensely complex character to life. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2006 by bookworm
Tim Robbins made another "political" film." "Dead Man Walking" stayed on an even keel. Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by Steven R. Travers