The Life of David Gale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Life of David Gale Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2007
i really enjoyed this movie i thought it was very interesting and twist turning with a great storyline and plot.
I liked how the story was focussed on trying to get point across, that innocent people do get murdered unjustly within the death penalty counties of america.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2011
The critic community seemed hell-bound to pin down this movie as one belonging to the trash bag. The story about anti-capital-punishment activist David Gale, deals with an unpleasant issue, kind of an issue that no one really want to know the answer of. The film may have failed in terms of moral grounds in the eyes of its detractors, may be a reason why it has gotten so much bad press.

But, this is also the story of a man whose life just went off the rails for all the wrong reasons, who wants to do something for the world before he leaves. In that perspective, this was a decent enough flick or even, I dare say rather inspiring.

That being said, the movie is not without it's glitches. A not so challenging role for Kate Winslet considering her abilities, occasionally flawed narrative and an annoying background score which did'nt seem to connect anyway to the premise of the movie.
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2009
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Rhona Mitra, Leon Rippy, Matt Craven, Jim Beaver, Elizabeth Gast, Cleo King, Constance Jones, Brandy Little, Cindy Waite, Jesse De Luna, Vernon Grote

Director: Alan Parker

Summary: When Texas professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the elimination of the death penalty, is falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney), he ends up on the state's notorious death row himself. In a series of flashbacks, Gale tells his story to a young reporter (Kate Winslet) who's visiting him on death row, leaving her to sort out his guilt or innocence.

My Thoughts: "This has to be (in my opinion) one of the best suspense films I have seen. It's messy, doesn't really develop the characters that well, but I don't think its needed. It's not telling the story of these people, it's telling the story of the events that have happened in David Gales life that led him to where he's at. Great suspense all the way till the end. Never knew where the story was going and the ending was brilliant. The measures that they went to, to prove their point was extreme, but brilliantly done. It's a smart messy film with great performances by (my fav) Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, and Laura Linney. It's a must see in my opinion, so see it if you haven't."
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2009
"They destroy his life, his work, his memory...and they make him watch."

The Life of David Gale tried very hard to be a thought-provoking movie that raises questions and encourages dialogue about a very important and divisive issue. Instead, it ended up being a preachy train wreck that's likely to bore you no matter what side (if any) you find yourself on in regard to the issue of the death penalty.

There are two plot twist that instantly transformed this from a somewhat watchable mediocre movie (watchable because I'm such a fan of Spacey, Winslet, and Linney) to an absolute train wreck. They're so contrived and absurd that they completey derail the entire film (twice!). Someone should have locked writer Charles Randolph in his house and not let him out until he had replaced the awful second half of The Life of David Gale with something that didn't border on lunacy.

Skip this. Whether you're for or against capital punishment won't change the fact that this is a bad movie.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2009
Despite of not being against capital punishment, this movie entertained me a great deal. The suspense element was of top-notch & there are enough twists until the very end of the movie. IMO, it's definitely a must watch for any mystery/suspense movie lover.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2009
A little pushy, a little preachy, and loaded with socio-political bias.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2008
This is not a perfect film by any means. It has it's share of flaws and contrivances, but as an entry in the thriller/mystery genre, it is somewhere in the middle between average and excellent, but leaning closer to the excellent side. The best thing about the film are the strong and powerful performances, the writing, directing, and the stunning ending. This iflm takes the issue of capital punishment and plays around with it like Tarantino does with genre conventions, and I like that.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2007
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'.
Super Reviewer
October 15, 2007
Interesting commentary on the death penalty, but some of the film-making techniques (repeatedly having us read what emotions we should feel, rather than actually evoking those emotions) made me crazy.
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2007
OK, another movie to think about. Another movie that I have to see again. Roger Ebert hates this movie -- I need to pay closer attention to figure out why.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2007
What a great ending! Great performance and good surprises!
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2007
An anti-death penalty activist convicted of the rape and murder of a colleague offers a final interview with a female reporter in the hope she will uncover the truth about what happened. Alan Parker directing Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet sounds like a dream ticket, but this overly contrived slice of soulless, mechanical pap completely fails to live up to expectation. The reek of mainstream Hollywood permeates the whole thing, from Spacey's unsympathetically pretentious character through to the inappropriately glib soundtrack that sounds like it would be more at home in a US sitcom. Winslet's character is a walking cliche and the film is punctuated by irritating directorial gimmicks that just grate on the nerves. The plot does have a twist in the tale, but by the time it arrived I'd lost interest. Parker has made some great films in his time. This however, is not one of them.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2007
Intersting movie about a group who are against the death penalty. Good twist at the end.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2007
An intriguing and revealing story about a man on death row. Both Spacey and Linney play fantastic roles, the plot holds you from start to finish and has clever twists
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2006
Somone may see this and perhaps think: Right! David Gale and the DeathWatch group resort to admirably extreme measures in order to uphold the principle that the death penalty should be abolished based upon the idea that if one innocent person is put to death, that is one wrongful death too many. Ergo, the death penalty should be abolished. I happen to agree that the death penalty should be abolished. I am opposed to the death penalty precisely because there is always a chance that an innocent person will be executed. Having said this, however, I am convinced that David Gale is in fact rightfully executed for his complicity in the death of Linney's character, Constance Harraway. Yes, she is terminally ill, and yes, I suppose, it is quite noble of her to volunteer her life to demonstrate that the justice system may be flawed. But only fanatically bent individual's like Gale, Wright, and Belyeu would, in upholding the value of human life in the face of erroneous execution, ironically value Harraway's life so little that they would allow her to end it in such a painful and undignified way. Their sick motivation and their ultimately callous disregard for Harraway's right to die with dignity actually undermine the point they are trying to make. Could they possibly have come up with a more awful way for Harraway to die? Every innocent life, even the lives of the terminally ill, should be valued and honored to the very end. Gale gets what he deserves. Wright and Belyeu get away with murder. Anyone doubting the horror of Harraway's final minutes need only reflect on Bitsey Bloom's wrenching and exhaustingly repeated viewings and even mimicking of Harraway's death. "Heart-pounding until its shocking, mind-blowing conclusion"? Hardly. If anything, the conclusion is mind-numbingly pathetic. Elmo wants me to give this one huge star for Cloud Dog. Agreed.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
Pretty drastic statement against death penalty and capital punishment. Excellent cast and very entertaining storytelling. Somehow I saw the twist coming, though...
Still, pretty exciting second half.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2006
Great suspense...
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2006
It tries to come off as important and profound. Look how bad the death penalty is etc. Although it is an interesting subject and a great cast it is handled all wrong. What should have been a confrontational drama comes off as a cheap made for TV true story type film. At times wants to be too mainstream.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2010
A disclaimer is in order. This reviewer is ethically and vehemently opposed to the death penalty, and has been for several years. That said, this is an over the top, extremely manipulative film that annoyed on so many levels, that this viewer is forced to admit he hated the story. Yet, because of the incredible acting job by Kate Winslet, as the reporter, Bitsy Bloom, Kevin Spacey as the titular David Gale, and Laura Linney as the murdered activist, Connie Harraway, because of the relentless tension of the script, and the fine job by the supporting actors, he is forced to give it a grudging four stars. What is truly amazing is that this viewer had figured out the "mystery" in the first reel, and still found the tension to be palpable. One other surprise. There is nudity in this film. The surprise is that it isn't Kate who gets naked!
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2007
Watch and learn, this movie will take you in and make you think. The end is a shocker that you will never see coming.
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