Sling Blade - Director's Cut Miramax Collector's Series
Collector's Edition, Collector's
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The Miramax Collector's Series proudly presents the two-disc release of the powerful motion picture applauded by critics and moviegoers alike ... written, directed, and starring Billy Bob Thornton (1996 Academy Award(TM) Winner, Best Adapted Screenplay and Academy Award(R) Nominee, Best Actor). Twenty five years after committing an unthinkable crime, a quiet man named Karl (Thornton) is finally returning home. Once there, he is befriended by a fatherless boy and his mother. But when his new-found peace is shattered by the mother's abusive boyfriend (Grammy-winner Dwight Yoakam), Karl is suddenly placed on a collision course with his past! Also featuring Robert Duvall (OPEN RANGE), John Ritter (BAD SANTA), and J.T. Walsh (BREAKDOWN) -- SLING BLADE is an unforgettable movie experience!
For anyone who hasn't seen Sling Blade since its 1995 release, attempting to identify added scenes in this somewhat longer director's cut (148 minutes versus the original film's 135) is a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, writer-director-star Billy Bob Thornton has updated his optional commentary track to identify those extra moments and explain why he re-inserted them. For the most part, this previously unseen footage extends the mood of certain scenes, stretching out moments of humor, compassion, tension, etc. There are no important revelations, but it is interesting to hear Thornton talk about the background of these scenes, and where ideas for the dialogue and action come from.
The second disc in this special edition of Sling Blade offers quite a few special features, several of great interest, including a couple of lengthy, biographical features about Thornton. One is a Bravo Profile originally seen on the Bravo cable channel, including interviews with Sling Blade composer Daniel Lanois, Thornton's friend Matt Damon, and then-wife Angelina Jolie, who calls Thornton "a mad genius with a deep soul." The other piece provides extensive material about Thornton's childhood, the years in which he lived with his grandmother, learned basketball from his "hot-headed Irish father," and eventually grew up and moved to Los Angeles. Also on disc 2 is a roundtable discussion with Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, and Lanois, a conversation with Lanois and Thornton about the film's music score, and two interviews with co-star Robert Duvall. The latter has a lot to say about what makes Sling Blade a classic film and why he's proud to be a part of it. --Tom Keogh
- Director's cut (22 minuets longer)
- Bravo Profiles: Billy Bob Thornton
- A Conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall
- A Conversation with Billy Bob Thornton
- A Conversation with Robert Duvall
- "The Return of Karl"
- "On the Set" 3 part featurette
- "Doyle's Dead" with introduction
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Freshly released from the hospital, Karl returns to his hometown but "doesn't know how to be a free man". He helps a young boy, Frank (Lucas Black) carry his laundry home and the two become fast friends. He gets a job, with help, working at a small engine repair shop. Karl is like an idiot-savant, hardly able to live on his own but a genius at fixing small engines. "Lawnmowers and whatnot". Frank's mother Linda (Natalie Canerday) invites Karl to stay in their garage instead of out in back of the repair shop, so Karl moves in.
There's just one problem. Linda's boyfriend, Doyle Hargraves (Dwight Yoakam) is a mean, intolerant man. He hates Frank, and abuses Linda and Frank verbally nonstop. He doesn't like a "mental retard" living in Linda's garage. He also doesn't like Linda's best friend Vaughan Cunningham (John Ritter), the gay manager of the dollar store Linda works at. Doyle can't even get along with his own friends.
'Sling Blade' is the story of Karl's "free" life and his friendship with Frank. It's a story of awakenings, one that will leave you breathless with the beauty of it. It's about the purest form of love, and the ugliest side of domestic abuse. I was deeply moved by the hidden bravery of Vaughan, who's terrified of Doyle but stands up for Linda and Frank even though he knows he's incapable of physically defending them. There's the quiet reflectiveness of Karl, who's spent a lifetime inside his own head and now has to deal with people on a daily basis. You'll see the "battered women's syndrome" in Linda, a kind soul who only sees the beauty in every person, even Doyle. And there's the viciousness of Doyle, from his everyday spoken words to his threats to beat and kill Linda, Frank, and Vaughan.
The acting in this movie is outstanding. Billy Bob Thornton, who also wrote and directed the movie, is amazing as Karl. He's honestly captured the motions, speech, and spirit of the mentally challenged Karl. And where the heck did Dwight Yoakam learn to act so well? He gives a stunning performance as the sadistic Doyle, he makes the role as real as life, an absolutely amazing performance. Yoakam's performance and Thornton's writing really captured the unexpected violence of the domestic abuser, the "walking on eggshells" routine those around them must live. Yoakam and Thornton are both naturals in front of the camera. There's also a short cameo appearance by Robert Duvall as Karl's father.
The question is, can Karl save Linda and Frank from a life of abuse under Doyle's cruel behavior? In the end, will he sacrifice himself for them? Just how much love does Karl have for the boy he's become so attached to?
I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It's a low budget film that introduced Billy Bob Thornton into the filmmaking industry, as a writer, director, and actor. The talent in this film is astonishing. It's never dull or slow. This is a film I believe that everyone should watch, no matter what your genre preferences are. Ten Stars! Enjoy!