All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review
The Life of David Gale

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Life of David Gale

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet
Director: Alan Parker
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 130 Minutes
Release Date: February 2003
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Rhona Mitra, Matt Craven, Leon Rippy, Jim Beaver, Elizabeth Gast

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
3 stars out of 4

How do you feel about the death penalty for those convicted of murder? Are you in favor because the Bible says "An eye for an eye," or because you believe potential killers will be deterred or because you think the families of the victims would gain closure? Are you against the death penalty because you believe the state should not lower itself to the level of murderers, or because you think innocent people may die or because you believe life without parole is a more effective punishment? None of the above? In any case, though Charles Randolph, who scripted "The Life of David Gale," makes his position known over and over, hammering his views into the minds of the audience at every which turn, you probably would not be offended by the film if you were pro-death penalty. Why so? Two words: Kevin Spacey among the most exciting actors of our time. But he is not the only plus for London- born Alan Parker's latest effort. Parker, whose early career as an ad executive may well have influenced the ways he made sure that all of us watching the big screen would know Randolph's position on the death penalty, converts what could have been merely a diatribe into a dramatic work. "Gale" is glitzy, yes, but carrying a final twist that could knock your socks off. You won't see it coming unless some creep throws you a spoiler when you couldn't turn your eyes away from a tell-all review on the 'net.

Parker, whose "Mississippi Burning" recreates the civil rights struggle of the 1960's, is right at home in this politically liberal film, making points against then Governor George W. Bush by casting a sound-alike (Michael Crabtree) as the doctrinaire right- wing leader of Texas, the state with the most executions in its history and with some four hundred people on death row as testament to the idea that they sure as heck had not been deterred.

Kevin Spacey is cast in the title role as a professor so brilliant he just might have come from an advanced civilization like K-Pax. Delivering a lecture to a hundred or so students, none of whom would dream of looking at their watches, he discusses the way that fantasies are great until they are realized: that bit of irony just might have something to do with the movie's conclusion. Framed for the rape of a college student who "would do anything to pass this course," he is eased out of his position on campus and is later charged with the rape-murder of Constance Harraway (Laura Linney), a fellow member of an organization fighting the death penalty. Is he guilty? Three courts seem to think so and so does crackerjack journalist Bitsey Bloom (who must have had father named Irving and a mother called Heather), until...until... Together with a newspaper intern, Zack Stemmons (comically played by Gabriel Mann), she like her counterpart Clint Eastwood in "True Crime" is going to prove his innocence with minutes to go before the needle goes in, of course.

There are some actions that challenge credibility, such as the delivery of half a million dollars in cash by a newspaper in return for the granting of an interview with the condemned man. We wonder why Zach is trusted with a metal attache case containing the cash rather than with a certified check. But that's within the conventions of a thriller, even one that has a political axe to grind. There is also a flaw in the debate that Gale has with Governor Hardin, in which the state's chief executive appears to stump the death penalty opponent before the TV camera with a point that Gale should have seen coming. Laura Linney is the only performer who can match Spacey in her performance as a vigorous death penalty opponent, and though Kate Winslet is no slouch, Spacey can do no wrong. The eyes of Texas may not like the message or at least 66% of those fry-'em-up eyes but even our president might be entertained by a picture whose 130 minutes go by in a breeze.

Copyright 2003 Harvey Karten

More reviews:    Main  2   3   Next >>
Featured DVD/Video
Star Wars Episode II
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us