Sling Blade Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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?