Sling Blade Reviews
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?
Thornton stars as a character named Karl Childers, a shy, lonely, retarded man who has been in a mental hospital most of his lie for killing his mother and her lover. After being released he quickly finds a job as a mechanic for lawn mowers and befriends a 12 year old boy Frank. Frank and Karl instantly hit it off and after some time Karl moves in and lives in Frank and his mothers garage. Karl soon learns about Franks mothers abusive boyfriend. "Doyle", is a drunk construction worker who doesn't tolerate anyone but himself.
Early on in the movie Frank tells his mother that he loves Karl and even quotes "I love the way he talks". And thats what you get when you watch the movie. He is one of the more unforgettable characters in recent memory. Not only is it his voice, there is something about his demeanor and the way he walks. He is a simple kind man at heart.Thornton does an excellent job of not only playing the character but also directing and writing the movie. There are some shots in the movie that are breathtaking and riveting.
In some ways i wish there were more people like Karl Childers in the world