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The Life of David Gale

Posted March. 17, 2003 22:22,   


It is hard to see a Hollywood movie these days that is as ironic as `the Life of David Gale.` Watching the movie, the audience will either agree to the intense message of the movie or find it distasteful. The movie is too controversial to stay in the middle.

Professor David Gale (Kevin Spacy) at Austin University in Texas, a respected death penalty opponent, finds himself on Death Row for the rape and murder of fellow activist Constance (Laura Linney). Only a few days before the scheduled execution, he asked for an exclusive interview with reporter Bitsey (Kate Winslet). Talking with Gale, the reporter comes to believe that he is innocent.

The movie then show the past life of Gale and Bitsey`s search for truth. The movie grows tense as it was revealed what really happened to Gale. Once a devoted father and popular professor, Gale lost everything in a tragic accident and became addicted to alcohol. Constance is his only friend. She was a terminal leukemia patient. Then why Gale killed Constance? Or Did he? As Bitsey nears the truth, the movie turns tense and thrilling. Kevin Spacy, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney all did their bits greatly.

Director Allen Parker, known to make movies with social messages such as `the Midnight Express` and `Buddy,` delivers a strong message in this movie as well – opposition to capital punishment. But he resorts to too an extreme means to deliver his message.

The movie begins with `a death penalty opponent who became a death row inmate` but becomes an onerous mixed bag in the latter part. Though the details of the story must be kept in secret for the dramatic turn in the last part, the truth Bitsey finds is that people have sacrificed themselves for their belief. Watching the martyrdom by terminally ill Constance and hopeless Gale, people could feel bitter, however.

The dramatic turn in the last part shocks people. The audience might either be touched by the sacrifice or feel offended by the way the movie delivers its message. It is up to the audience to decide. This film is restricted to those aged 15 or over.

Hee-Kyung Kim susanna@donga.com