Dead Man Walking
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With Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon), we first learn about the crime which landed Poncelet on death row - the rape-murder of a couple on lovers' lane - from the account she receives when she starts writing to him and eventually agrees to visit him in prison. It is, as she will soon learn, a story that anti-death penalty advocates are all too familiar with; a story of unequal access to lawyers and of two defendants, each blaming all guilt for their crime exclusively on the other, regardless what truly happened. And as long as she is assured that even if Poncelet would have a new trial he wouldn't go free (as an accomplice, under Louisiana state law he would receive a lifetime prison sentence), Sister Helen is willing to help him find a lawyer and, when the date for his execution is set, try to obtain a reprieve.Read more ›
Sean Penn is almost scary in his portrayal of Matthew Poncellet. With convincing facial expressions, voice and demeanor, Penn nails every scathing, miserable characteristic of a "white trash" criminal with no remorse for his chosen way of life and his lack of respect for everything and everyone in his world. By the film's end, your heart can't help but bleed for him in is agony, but what a pity it took the tragedy of murder to bring him to his knees.
Susan Sarandon perfectly portrays a kind and gentle Sr. Helen Prejean (who makes a cameo appearance in the film at a candlelight demonstration outside the prison).
WARNING: This movie is very painful to watch, and certain scenes of violence, aside from the final execution by lethal injection, may disturb the faint-hearted.
Seriously, it tore out my heart and stomped on it. `Dead Man Walking' is one of those movies that ravages an individual because it leaves bias at the door and forces you to witness two sides of a devastating story. I feel about this film as I do about `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' for both films take a situation that one would have a firm opinion about and causes you to seriously doubt yourself. With `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' it was abortion, and while I am wholeheartedly against the act it forced me to understand why some would be for it, and it brought me a to a dark and lonely place I never want to revisit. `Dead Man Walking' is very similar but maybe even with a more savage result. This film takes on the subject of the death penalty and asks us to contemplate whether or not it is humane. Instead of forcing us a preordained answer, `Dead Man Walking' allows the audience to see both sides of the situation and decide for themselves what they think is just and fair.
`Dead Man Walking' took everything I believed in and destroyed it.
When `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' was through I was weak emotionally, but I still stood firm to my beliefs on the subject. When I was through with `Dead Man Walking' I had no idea what I believed anymore because I found myself trying to justify each stance on the matter. I still am trying to grapple with my feelings.
`Dead Man Walking' (a slang term used in reference to a death row inmate in route to the death chamber) focuses on Matthew Poncelet, a convicted murderer trying to get his death sentenced exchanged for a life sentence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent movie about the true story of murderer Robert Willie and Sister Helen Prejean who counseled him on death row until his execution.Published 3 days ago by Jrumage
A powerful and moving objective look at capital punishment. Really nutritious food for thought. Outstanding performances by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Catherine Pate
Dead Man Walking, 1995 film
A man is on death row. He didn’t kill anyone, he says, his partner did it. But the law says partners in a murder are equally guilty. Read more
Outstanding! Susan Sarandon at her best. Excellent performance by Sean Penn. Held your attention totally. Made 20 years ago, didn'the seem possible. The story is timeless.Published 1 month ago by Laura W.