Movie Review: Dead Man Walking (1995)


I am a big fan of dramas. Okay, a lot of people are that, but hear me out. I am a guy who a few years back never expected to like dramas. I was a guy who thought “I am simply a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, comedy and action…nothing more”. And look at me now! 17 years old and watching movies from all genres (except horror because those movies don’t appeal to me). What am I trying to get at here you may ask? Well I am just saying that considering the movie we are taking a look at today is a drama. And that I couldn’t find anything better to write here…yeah.

Dead men and dead women…”Dead Man Walking”.

Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) is a nun. One day she receives a letter from a man sitting in death row. This man is Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) who apparently killed a guy by shooting him in the back of the head (twice) and also raping, stabbing and finally shooting his girlfriend…yikes. But he says he is innocent and says his “friend” Carl Vitello (Michael Cullen) is the one who did it. Of course the higher ups (government, law-system, etc.) thinks he is bullshitting them. But when Helen decides to go visit him she discovers more about him and gets to know him more and form a sort of bond with him. And of course the parents of the dead couple is not too happy about it when they find out and all that fun shit. Now I am gonna leave it at that because this story is fan-fucking-tastic. It is not only well directed, but also incredibly tense and even has a little emotional weight. It is also based on a true story…yeah…let that sink in for a second.

The characters like the story are based on real life. But that doesn’t say much for this movie. I think they are very well-handled and their portrayals (while maybe not accurate to the real life people) are magnificent. And if you look closely, you will notice a ton of great actors who maybe weren’t the biggest actors ever back then. Of course we have the ones that are well known since earlier in the leads like Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and R. Lee Ermey…but that isn’t as fun (considering they are obvious and very prominent throughout this). You will find such actors as Jack Black, Clancy Brown, Margo Martindale and Peter Sarsgaard (before they were as famous as they are now). But in general, these characters are handled very well are portrayed incredibly well.

The soundtrack is amazing. A lot of cold songs that makes you feel that everything is wrong in this world. But then there are songs that are just kinda…feelgood…yeah, feelgood. To give an example of that, search for Eddie Vedder feat. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – The Long Road…then you’ll know what the hell I am talking about.

This movie looks great. And to my surprise, this movie was directed by Tim Robbins…yeah. Andy Dufresne from “Shawshank Redemption” directed a movie…who knew. But the camera work was still really good and I am impressed by this. This movie also at one point made me shed a tear. And when a movie does that, kudos to that. I am not saying what happened or when the scene is, just saying it happened.

The reception for “Dead Man Walking” was great. Rotten Tomatoes has a 93% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has a 80/100 sc0re for it. Roger Ebert gave it a perfect 4/4 star rating and called it:

“absorbing, surprising, technically superb and worth talking about for a long time afterward.” has a score of 7,6/1o. This movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars (Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best original song). It won on Best actress (Susan Sarandon).

I have spoken my words and I am ready to hand out my final score for “Dead Man Walking”. My final score for this compelling, emptional and incredibly well made movie is a 9,62/10 which makes me give it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

Review for “Dead Man Walking” is done.


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