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Academy Award(r) winner Billy Bob Thornton (Best Writing, Sling Blade,1997), Academy Award(r) winner Holly Hunter (Best Actress in a Leading Role, The Piano, 1994), Morgan Freeman and Kirsten Dunst star in the gripping, emotionally-charged story of a paroled murderer's search to reconcile a single, spontaneous moment in his past that changed the course of his life forever. Manual Jordan (Thornton) isa convicted murderer who is unexpectedly released from prison after serving a 22-year sentence for killing a store clerk in a failed robbery attempt. Haunted by his past and seemingly lost in the present, Manual is drawn back to his old neighborhood. There, he encounters three people that hold the key to his redemption: a self-destructive young woman (Dunst), an enigmatic inner-city man (Freeman)and the older sister (Hunter) of the boy he killed.
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This is a slow and thoughtful character study set during a grim and dreary winter in an urban town.
This is not a Hollywood movie. It's raw with real life. It's apparent ugliness is its sheer inescapable beauty.
Morality does exist no matter how we try to hide.
Thornton, after spending over 20 years in prison for the murder of a young convenience store clerk during a robbery gone haywire in his youth, is drawn to return to his old neighborhood to visit the older sister of the young man he killed, played by Holly Hunter. She doesn't quite know who he really is since so many years have gone by.
Thornton was content to live out his remaining years behind bars but must now face his past because his sentence was suddenly commuted.
Bleak with melancholy, this type of film gets shunned by audiences and it's a shame.
Morgan Freeman plays a mysterious soup kitchen minister who has his own issues, whom Thornton comes to work for. Freeman is a natural actor and believable in any role.
The story unfolds slowly without gimmicks.
At times, Thornton happens to find himself visited by the ghostly apparition of the young man whom he killed, while he is in the process of seeking resolution and atonement.
His simple desire is to somehow make amends. He wants to be forgiven but, strangely, he is unable and unwilling to forgive himself.
Unfortunately, unresolved redemption seems to be too deep a theme for contemporary audiences who are hooked on chills and thrills and pyrotechnics.
This is an independent film, the kind that many people just don't get.
A movie for your quiet time or a rainy night. Something different and refreshing.
And no silly happy ending to mar the procedings.
potentially painful, healing. Obviously not for everybody, but intensely rewarding for those who care. Loved it!