Sunday, December 04, 2005

Domesticity Reviews: Dead Man Walking

Folks, I know it's been more than 10 years, but Dead Man Walking is a very serious movie. It's definitely not an easy one to watch if you're just looking for a flick to kill time, because it sticks with you.

If you can appreciate great filmmaking, you will enjoy the performances in this movie, especially with Susan Sarandon (who earned her Oscar here-she's very convincing as Sister Helen ) and Sean Penn (who I think deserved it less for Mystic River); you'll be even more surprised by the even-handed and artful way that Tim Robbins handles the script. (Note to Zach Braff: This is how you do a quick-edit montage to music without looking or sounding pretentious.) But the subject matter... well, it's not the stuff of quick watercooler talk, that's for sure. I'm not saying it's heavy, like Passion of the Christ, but the subject of the death penalty and the sanctity of life is not something to be taken lightly, no matter where you stand.

These arguments, of course, are beyond the scope of this site, so I'll leave it at that. But the way the events are portrayed here - in the screenplay, in the cinematography - are so weighty, and so moving, that you may not be able to appreciate anything about the story without having an understanding of the greater truth behind the characters' motivations. You'll definitely need to watch it with a devoutly Catholic (or at least Christian) friend who can handle a good argument. And you'll definitely have to keep a ready and open mind.


And now, a much-needed moment of levity.

Dear Peter Sarsgaard:

You know, I don't harbor any illusions that a single blogger like myself is capable of making another person - let alone a famous person - take a long hard look at his own career, but I'm going to do this anyway..

So I just finished watching Dead Man Walking, which I believe was one of your first film roles. And you know what? For someone who doesn't spend that much time on screen - and gets his head blown up by Sean Penn - you were pretty darn indelible. Haunting, even. (The '80s bangs were not a hindrance to this judgement- but you were soooo CUUUUTE!1!1!!) Who knew you'd turn out to be a good actor? And I still respect that about you. It's your line of work; it's what you do well.

That said. (And this is a very pointed "that said," mind you, coming from me.) You know who else was in that movie with you? That's right: Jack Black. And I like Jack Black, too. Say what you will about Jack Black's integrity of purpose, or credibility as an actor, but Jack Black is about to make more money than you this Christmas by being in a movie that I might actually want to watch. (Okay, me and the rest of the planet, but still.) That's not even with the benefit of hanging around macrobiotic restaurants or being accused of getting cliquey.

(Which reminds me: I figured you could use some holiday cheer for the dinner table, so I ordered this for you... Kidding.)

You know where I'm getting at, do you? Don't front and tell me you don't have any fans, bro, because you do. But what about the rest of us who like you but don't want to see yet another movie where you play another smirky-faced, HoYay-generating scumbag-who-got-that-way-because-of-Something-Bad? You were fine (in many definitions of the word) as an innocent, my sweet. You've got a whole holiday season to think about this. Give it some consideration the next time people start whispering about you while you're ordering your next bowl of miso soup.

Sincerely, Mei.

PS. Dude, if you're ever on Oahu? Lanikai Juice, Boots & Kimo's, and Nick's Fishmarket. That's all I'm saying.

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