Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review – Dead Man Walking

Sister Helen Prejean’s book about her experiences with death row inmates gets Hollywoodized reasonably successfully. Susan Sarandon plays Prejean, and Sean Penn sits on the other side of the metal screen from her, playing a combination of the two prisoners described in the book. I figured with all the California liberals involved in the production – particularly Tim Robbins in the director’s chair – that this would turn out to be an empty-headed attack on capital punishment. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the other side of the story – particularly the suffering of the victims’ families – given a reasonable amount of screen time. Indeed, the end – intercutting the execution by lethal injection with flashbacks to the original crime – was morally ambiguous, feeding the “see how wrong killing is in both circumstances” and the “see how just the punishment is for such a brutal crime” positions with equal fire. I don’t think I would have bestowed as many awards on this as it got, but I thought it was a reasonably good movie. Mildly amusing

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