Directed by: Alan Parker.
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Matt Craven.
Many of the top critics hated this film and to be honest, I held off trying to hire it because of some of there comments. I thought it be time to finally see the film. This is a prime example of a problematic film, one where it is flawed, messy and has to many unnecessary moments, but one that also has major potential and shows a lot of brilliance.
The story follows David Gale, a smart minded anti-death penalty activist who seems to have everything, a strong role as a university professor and he has a wife and a beautiful kid who he loves so dearly. When he is accused of raping an expelled student and murdering a fellow activist member, he has days before he is sentenced to death. He calls upon journalist Bitsy Bloom, someone who is not only brilliant at what she does but has also had time behind bars, he meets with her to deliver the true story of his life before his meet with death. Its great to see that the film pulls away the fiction from the film and plays like it is all real, even though the character is made up. What pulls the film down though with the script is how messy and flawed it is. For the first hour it is really by the numbers, going through the tripe we all have grown to know scaringly well. The strong message of death penalty is really bought across with too much push that we are bombarded with too many unnecessary facts and it doesn't help when we really just wants a compelling viewing experience rather than Current Events 101 shoved down our throats, especially when it isn't compelling as it could and should be. The editing was too much, taking the 'facts' of the screenplay and jumping from each line to the next, making it even that more irratating....and not to mention the cuts to words written on paper and the strange camera angles by director Alan Parker.
Thats the problems said, because behind all of these, theres a strong film wanting to get out. You have moments of tense atmosphere and one hell of an interesting and surprisingly shocking end and the movie is helped to be carried by a very strong, controlled and tense performance by my favourite actor Kevin Spacey and a convincing performance from Kate Winslet.
At the end of the all that, I won't be watching the film again and I'd probably forget it before long. It has moments that are disturbing and tense, it carries two strong performances and has a very intense and shocking ending, but the screenplay is also messy, by the numbers and has too many facts thrown at us to make any point of the message convincing....and the terrible editing doesn't help. As Richard Roeper said, 'A dazzling mess'.