The Life of David Gale
Kevin Spacey, Laura Linney, Kate Winslet, Gabriel Mann
Director Alan Parker, in this powerfully thoughtful drama, takes another look at an aspect of Stateside life; death!
We have here a compelling thriller in which Spacey plays the title role, a liberal professor and a keen supporter of the anti-death penalty who finds himself on Death Row for the rape and murder of a colleague (the excellent Linney, once again underlining her talent as a truly fine actress). With days to go before his execution, Gale gives an interview to journalist Winslet, who sets out to investigate the events surrounding the case.
And throughout this fine film, Parker knows where he stands on the issues under review. He knows, too, how to lay these troubling issues before us; without spin, without slick manipulation, with clear honesty.
The playing is universally brilliant - Linney, in a show-stealing performance as the victim of the murder, has never been better - with Spacey turning in a fine study of a man in deep trouble.
The film, moving through time-changes, the better to explain the plot, is set at a determined pace and sets up several questions about the taking of a human life; which might well have been an innocent one. It is, in many ways, only the sort of film which Parker could have made.