Dead Man Walking (1995)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dead Man Walking</strong> (1995)

(In French, On Cable TV, May 2018) Some movies stay with you and some movies leave without much of a fuss, and writing this capsule review a few weeks after seeing Dead Man Walking, I’m having trouble remembering anything specific about the film. This may or may not tell you more about the film than myself. After all, the film was a modest hit upon release, sparking discussions about faith, revenge and the death penalty. It’s executed soberly, and director Tim Robbins gives a wide berth to star Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon to show what they can do as actors. It touches upon a highly dramatic subject, what with a nun trying to help a death row prisoner atone for his sordid actions. It even leads to the kind of life-and-death climax that ought to leave an impression. Alas, my attention checked out early, perhaps motivated by the realization that I had seen this kind of Oscar-baiting movie countless times before, perhaps encouraged by the certitude that I would not see anything here outside of the usual Hollywood mould for issues drama. Once the premise is clear, so is its execution and conclusion. The film runs through expected paces, and the chosen tone of the story limits what it will do on its way to a foregone conclusion. I certainly do not expect anyone else to react the same way as a jaded cinephile such as myself would do—in fact, I would applaud strong reactions to the film by others. I can only report about what I think of the film, or how quickly it has evaporated in my mind.

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