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The Life of David Gale

The Life of David Gale

81% Liked It
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The Life of David Gale

Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Matt Craven

The mystery of one man's guilt or innocence literally becomes a matter of life and death in this drama. David Gale (Kevin Spacey) was the head of the philosophy department at Austin University and the... read more read more... author of several well-regarded books; he was also an active and visible member of Deathwatch, an anti-capital punishment activist group. One of Gale's best friends was Constance Harraway (Laura Linney), a fellow Deathwatch activist with whom he became especially close, particularly since Gale's wife, Sharon (Elizabeth Gast), who had taken a lover in Spain, was usually absent. One night, Gale was seduced by an attractive student from his class, Berlin (Rhona Mitra), who had too much to drink; later, the remorseful student accused Gale of rape. While Gale was eventually cleared of the charges, the negative publicity cost him his career as an educator, and with no job and no wife, Gale turned to drink. When Harraway was found raped and murdered a few years later, Gale was charged with the crime, and convicted despite the best efforts of his well-meaning but ineffectual lawyer Braxton Belyeu (Leon Rippy). Now Gale awaits execution, and less than a week before his date with the fatal injection, Gale agrees to tell his story to Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet), a nervy journalist from a major newsmagazine, who arrives with her assistant, Zack Stemmons (Gabriel Mann). As Bloom discusses the facts of the Harraway murder with Gale, it occurs to her that the details simply don't add up, and soon a mysterious stranger slips evidence to her that suggests Gale has been framed -- leaving Bloom and Stemmons only a few days to solve the mystery and save Gale from the executioner. The Life of David Gale was co-produced by actor Nicolas Cage, who originally commissioned the script and intended to star in the film before prior commitments led him to hand the project over to director Alan Parker. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Id: 10895956

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Recent Reviews

  • May 29, 2011
    i really enjoyed this movie i thought it was very interesting and twist turning with a great storyline and plot.
    I liked how the story was focussed on trying to get point across, that innocent people do get murdered unjustly within the death penalty counties of america.
  • May 28, 2011
    The critic community seemed hell-bound to pin down this movie as one belonging to the trash bag. The story about anti-capital-punishment activist David Gale, deals with an unpleasant issue, kind of an issue that no one really want to know the answer of. The film may have failed i... read moren terms of moral grounds in the eyes of its detractors, may be a reason why it has gotten so much bad press.

    But, this is also the story of a man whose life just went off the rails for all the wrong reasons, who wants to do something for the world before he leaves. In that perspective, this was a decent enough flick or even, I dare say rather inspiring.

    That being said, the movie is not without it's glitches. A not so challenging role for Kate Winslet considering her abilities, occasionally flawed narrative and an annoying background score which did'nt seem to connect anyway to the premise of the movie.
  • September 23, 2010
    Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Rhona Mitra, Leon Rippy, Matt Craven, Jim Beaver, Elizabeth Gast, Cleo King, Constance Jones, Brandy Little, Cindy Waite, Jesse De Luna, Vernon Grote

    Director: Alan Parker

    Summary: When Texas professor David Gale... read more (Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the elimination of the death penalty, is falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney), he ends up on the state's notorious death row himself. In a series of flashbacks, Gale tells his story to a young reporter (Kate Winslet) who's visiting him on death row, leaving her to sort out his guilt or innocence.

    My Thoughts: "This has to be (in my opinion) one of the best suspense films I have seen. It's messy, doesn't really develop the characters that well, but I don't think its needed. It's not telling the story of these people, it's telling the story of the events that have happened in David Gales life that led him to where he's at. Great suspense all the way till the end. Never knew where the story was going and the ending was brilliant. The measures that they went to, to prove their point was extreme, but brilliantly done. It's a smart messy film with great performances by (my fav) Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, and Laura Linney. It's a must see in my opinion, so see it if you haven't."
  • September 18, 2010
    "They destroy his life, his work, his memory...and they make him watch."

    The Life of David Gale tried very hard to be a thought-provoking movie that raises questions and encourages dialogue about a very important and divisive issue. Instead, it ended up being a preachy train wre... read moreck that's likely to bore you no matter what side (if any) you find yourself on in regard to the issue of the death penalty.

    There are two plot twist that instantly transformed this from a somewhat watchable mediocre movie (watchable because I'm such a fan of Spacey, Winslet, and Linney) to an absolute train wreck. They're so contrived and absurd that they completey derail the entire film (twice!). Someone should have locked writer Charles Randolph in his house and not let him out until he had replaced the awful second half of The Life of David Gale with something that didn't border on lunacy.

    Skip this. Whether you're for or against capital punishment won't change the fact that this is a bad movie.
  • April 19, 2010
    All things considered, a very disappointing drama. The character development was terrible and the performances unconvincing. Alan Parker has made some great films, what happened? It's also, rather worryingly, the last film he's made. Shame.
  • October 5, 2009
    Despite of not being against capital punishment, this movie entertained me a great deal. The suspense element was of top-notch & there are enough twists until the very end of the movie. IMO, it's definitely a must watch for any mystery/suspense movie lover.
  • January 3, 2009
    A little pushy, a little preachy, and loaded with socio-political bias.
  • August 21, 2008
    This is not a perfect film by any means. It has it's share of flaws and contrivances, but as an entry in the thriller/mystery genre, it is somewhere in the middle between average and excellent, but leaning closer to the excellent side. The best thing about the film are the strong... read more and powerful performances, the writing, directing, and the stunning ending. This iflm takes the issue of capital punishment and plays around with it like Tarantino does with genre conventions, and I like that.
  • November 14, 2007
    Directed by: Alan Parker.
    Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Matt Craven.

    Many of the top critics hated this film and to be honest, I held off trying to hire it because of some of there comments. I thought it be time to finally see th... read moree film. This is a prime example of a problematic film, one where it is flawed, messy and has to many unnecessary moments, but one that also has major potential and shows a lot of brilliance.

    The story follows David Gale, a smart minded anti-death penalty activist who seems to have everything, a strong role as a university professor and he has a wife and a beautiful kid who he loves so dearly. When he is accused of raping an expelled student and murdering a fellow activist member, he has days before he is sentenced to death. He calls upon journalist Bitsy Bloom, someone who is not only brilliant at what she does but has also had time behind bars, he meets with her to deliver the true story of his life before his meet with death. Its great to see that the film pulls away the fiction from the film and plays like it is all real, even though the character is made up. What pulls the film down though with the script is how messy and flawed it is. For the first hour it is really by the numbers, going through the tripe we all have grown to know scaringly well. The strong message of death penalty is really bought across with too much push that we are bombarded with too many unnecessary facts and it doesn't help when we really just wants a compelling viewing experience rather than Current Events 101 shoved down our throats, especially when it isn't compelling as it could and should be. The editing was too much, taking the 'facts' of the screenplay and jumping from each line to the next, making it even that more irratating....and not to mention the cuts to words written on paper and the strange camera angles by director Alan Parker.

    Thats the problems said, because behind all of these, theres a strong film wanting to get out. You have moments of tense atmosphere and one hell of an interesting and surprisingly shocking end and the movie is helped to be carried by a very strong, controlled and tense performance by my favourite actor Kevin Spacey and a convincing performance from Kate Winslet.

    At the end of the all that, I won't be watching the film again and I'd probably forget it before long. It has moments that are disturbing and tense, it carries two strong performances and has a very intense and shocking ending, but the screenplay is also messy, by the numbers and has too many facts thrown at us to make any point of the message convincing....and the terrible editing doesn't help. As Richard Roeper said, 'A dazzling mess'.
  • October 28, 2007
    Interesting commentary on the death penalty, but some of the film-making techniques (repeatedly having us read what emotions we should feel, rather than actually evoking those emotions) made me crazy.

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