Sling Blade - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sling Blade Reviews

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July 13, 2017
What ambition and creative drive does - an actor creates an understated, anti-moralizing masterpiece. Yet, he brings such radiant conflict to the story, working off a great dynamic between Billy Bob's subtle nuances, Dwight's slow boiling aggression and Lucas Black's startlingly energetic anger. A "you had to be there" moment in cinema for sure, but ages very well..


It's hard to narrow down my list of great "mentally challenged" movies, from the likes of Forrest Gump, to Peter Sellers' brilliant performance in Being There. However, Sling Blade excels in pathos solely because of the relentlessly cruel character study of Doyle Hargraves. Doyle is a no good SOB and the movie depicts him as such, but is also presented as a self-loathing, apologetic manipulator who perfectly represents the evil that lies dormant in otherwise honest men. Sling Blade is a work of genius because it makes us, the intellectual elite of moviegoers, feel just as stupid as old Karl Childers, who can't make heads or tails of a morally complex world. That's the joke of life-none of us really can.
May 16, 2017
I quit after the first 30 mins: the characters are ridiculous, the plot a cliche collage and the dialogues as badly staged as interpreted.
April 23, 2017
Southern, Gothic Tragedy. Excellent.
½ March 7, 2017
Really touching film. With fantastic performances all around.
February 19, 2017
Can't believe I never saw this before now...WOW.
½ February 3, 2017
You know what is coming, but that doesn't make it any less gripping. Billy Bob Thornton gives a remarkable performance as the sympathetic main character, Karl Childers. (First and only full viewing - 6/21/2011)
January 8, 2017
Very intense and creepy start with a lengthy monologue, but then takes a very different turn to end up in a similar place where it started. Incredible performance from Billy Bob Thornton, who also wrote and directed the film making it a very impressive achievement. I'd wanted to watch it back when it was released in 1996 and although it took me 20 years to finally experience it, it was worth the wait.
January 2, 2017
Absolutely love this movie and can't help watching it again whenever it comes on cable. In my opinion, Billy Bob's best performance ever. Great performances from everyone in a great story and authentic Southern accents and dialogue make this movie captivating to watch time and time again.
½ November 30, 2016
Billy Bob Thornton's 'Sling Blade', an extended version of his short film, put Thornton on the map as an artist. Billy Bob portrays the mentally challenged Karl Childers who befriends a little boy played by Lucas Black. The chemistry the two have from their first scene to their last is unmistakeable. Thornton, who created this role years earlier perfected it for the film. Keep your eyes peeled for Robert Duvall who plays Thornton's father in one especially riveting scene. Final Score: 8.8.
October 25, 2016
5 stars in my book. I did not see the movie tell 1999 or so, but it became my fav movie the 1st time i saw it. Very good cast, and very well done for not being a big buck movie. Truly one of the best movies i have ever seen.
September 22, 2016
Sling Blade is a film of contrasts. Light and dark tones are masterfully balanced, offering up some of the sweetest, most heart warming scenes you could hope to find in a film & on the flip side a character so blatantly written to be as scummy, controlling & narrow minded as humanly possible plus several gruesome deaths forming the centre point of the story. It's because the light and dark is balanced so well, the movie as a whole is so effective.

Billy Bob Thornton proves himself as a powerhouse. This is his rodeo through and through. The script feels lived in and informed by personal experience, the direction is as unfussy and simple as the films lead character Karl and finally, Thornton's performance commands attention yet is so understated, playing Karl with a higher degree of self awareness than you may expect.

True, this is Billy Bob's movie, but the rest of the cast are more than game to meet the challenge of the script in creating a believable world for the characters to play in. The most jarring detail in the movie ends up being just how two tone it is. Black. White. No shades of grey. There are two characters that would fit the villain mold. They at no point show even a hint of redeeming qualities, which makes the eventual ending an expected one, not a surprise.

This is just a minor nitpick and certainly not important in the big scheme of things. Make no mistake, this film is on a hard and fast mission. It just reveals it's hand gradually over the course of 2 plus hours and makes the journey feel half as long.
½ September 10, 2016
Billy Bob Thornton is in top form. The foreshadowing in this movie is a prime example that you don't need a twist at the end of your movie to be successful. The finale can be seen by the audience from a mile away but it still drums up all the emotions we've been carrying the entire film. Bravo...
September 9, 2016
Probably Billy Bob Thorton's most iconic performance, in a slowly simplistic yet well formulated film.
August 17, 2016
Billy Bob Thornton writes, directs, and acts in the emotionally stirring Sling Blade. What we have here is a gothic southern story that is very real, making us feel as if we were there witnessing the events unfold. The relationships built in the film were tremendous, filming for long sessions at a time, which made the film all the more impressive. It is extremely slow paced, but it works very well
August 3, 2016
A confronting & powerful film about a gentle & simple man recently released from a Mental Institution for a murder he committed when he was a boy.

The film was acted too perfection by Billy Bob Thorton who directed & wrote the film also, although it's not fast paced it's gripping & genuinely engaging southern gothic fable.

The film just mounts & mounts for a chilling conclusion, it's a masterclass film & well worth watching.
½ July 30, 2016
The film, initially breaks us into a mental asylum surrounded by quirky & odd characters where we are introduced to Karl Childers in his five-minute-long stare through the window. This, sets a foundation and senses us about Karl's distinctive presence; eyes cannot simply roll past him in a crowd. Further, the film releases his psyche which is admittedly contradicting to our mental-based perception. Comes to light, as far more sound & rational than many other "sane" people considered by the society.
What led him to commit two murders when he was twelve? Being too sensitive and too much love for his mother; witnessing her being corrupted by society embarked an outrageous rage, to kill her lover. After, registering his beleif and idealogy abused by society; what he has become/done it vexed him further into killing his own mother. Finally, returning home we acknowledge him in a similar position. A change has to be made to put things in order for the ones he love. Perhaps now being re-conditioned, well-balanced more open-minded and morally correct; Would he kill again? Or to put it rightly, would he turn to love and honesty again?
July 15, 2016
Superb acting by all, but especially Billy Bob Thornton.
July 11, 2016
Amazing movie to watch. I never get tired of it.
½ June 18, 2016
Good turn by Dwight Yoakam as a guy with anger problems, he did it well. Almost. . .TOO WELL?! No. The movie falls apart briefly in the last 15 or so minutes with the musical montage of Thornton sharpening his blade, mm hm, reckon he's fixin' to do some killin'. By this point we understand that Karl is a basically good guy, messed in the head a little but not a monster, we didn't need the epilogue with the freak in the hospital, that was a step too far in the depressing department.
½ June 6, 2016
Thorton does an astounding job in front of and behind the camera
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