Tim Robbins (dir.), Dead Man Walking (1995 film)

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Film, USA 1995.



  • cineman.de Eine deutsche Rezension von Martin Glauser, dennoch interessant. Sie kritisiert die filmische Technik einer "fatale[n] Parallelmontage" von der Exekution, dem Mord an den Teenagern, dem Injektionsprozess und dem sterbenden Matthew als "plumpe rhetorische Figur", weil sie die Exekution als "Legitimation jener barbarischen Justiz" präsentiert. Dies wiederum schien nicht Tim Robbins Absicht zu sein, sondern eher eine Kritik an der Todesstrafe. Zudem wirft die Rezension einen Blick auf den religiösen Teil des Films. Die Darstellung von Susan Sarandon spiegelt den "American Way of Being Concerned" wider - die "christliche Logik der Argumentation verleiht dem Film eine gewisse philosophische Unschärfe, sie verhindert ein klares Statement". Abschließend weist der Film eine "skandalöse Impertinenz" auf, da es Sister Helen am Ende noch gelingt, eine "Bekehrung in letzter Minute" zu erreichen.
  • Suntimes.com An enthusiastic review by famous Roger Ebert declaring Dead Man Walking "a spiritual drama" in which Sister Helen really cares for the soul of Matthew. Referring to Ebert it is not about fullfilling the religious ritual and repent his sins but to truly understand what he has done, what really happened to him and others. He calls it a movie that will be talked about for a long time. Egbert praises the movie for going deep into the feelings of the characters, for not shying away from overstepping boundaries or being uncomfortable. He never mentions this to be a movie against the death penalty, though.
  • Rotten Tomatoes.com A fantastic site that gathers a huge amount of reviews (Roger Egbert's review I found through this) on movies from magazines and online publications. It gives site users' comments on movies as well. Unfortunately some of the links concerning Dead Man Walking are not available anymore.
  • filmcritic.com: a film review from 1995 by Christopher Null. On the first view, this review doesn't offer much; three paragraphs of summary, some comment on the actors... But there were three points in it which I found interesting:
1. The author describes the film as a "docudrama" as it is "inspired by true events". But does the film really document true events?
2. On the one hand, the author critisizes the director, calls the beginning of the film "talky and repetitive". It "starts off slow", but "comes together quite nicely." On the other hand, he praises the story as "the real star" and states that the film is "will likely provide material for hours of philophical debate."
3. In the end, he offers a very provocative question: "What's more fitting for the holidays than a good execution movie, anyway?"
After all to me this sounds pretty contradictory. Criticism and categorization don't seem to fit together. What kind of film is Dead Man Walking? A documentary? Or just fine entertainment for a holiday? If it is the latter, there will very likely be no philosphical debates...
just a short remark: your summaries do not help if we have to read these reviews to tell what statements, interpretations, opinions, criticsm they offer. --Olaf Simons 15:08, 23 April 2008 (CEST)
so how do you want the summary to be written? - so that we can change it. you just said "put a link on the wiki and give a short summary of the review" Gruß, Verena Engelhardt 15:18, 23 April 2008 (CEST)
Well as I said: the statement - it does not help me if I read the text makes a brilliant statement in the end. To get a view of the different opinons/views/statements we need the statements themselves (like "criticises the movie as a implicit justification of the death penalty being the very means through which the accused accepts his responsibility..." or "reads the film as religious kitsch" or "praises the film as...")
PS - that's the aim - like the first summary... --Olaf Simons 16:16, 23 April 2008 (CEST)
  • New York Times this is a link to an official film review published by the New York Times in 1995. It gives a summary of the film and judges the making of the film, the actors` ways of playing the two main characters, and describes the whole atmosphere of the film.
  • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/deadmanwalking.htm: a review by Washington Post Staff Writer Desson Howe; he argues that it is superficial to say that the movie is about the death penalty. You witness the horrors of Death Row and the process of state execution through politically balanced eyes. The movie is "an extremely affecting experience." What matters most is the relationship between Sister Helen and Poncelet. D. Howe, in his review, describes Poncelet as "a caged, unsympathetic weasel, a raging victim, an almost pathetic figure and somewhere inside all of that, a touching human being" and Sarandon as Sister Helen "provides a perfect, understated counterpoint to him."