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‘Life of David Gale’ is a thriller of a jigsaw puzzle

Maurice Barnfather of Burbank is a freelance journalist.

Director Alan Parker (“Midnight Express”) does not shy from

controversial subjects. “The Life of David Gale,” and its exploration

of the moral justification and effectiveness as a deterrent to murder


of the death penalty, is no exception.

Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a self-pitying, alcoholic philosophy

professor implacably opposed to the death penalty who finds himself

on Texas’ death row with four days before his scheduled execution for


the sadistic murder of Constance (Laura Linney), his associate in the

advocacy group Death Watch. What to do?

Gale, strange even for a professor, offers an exclusive interview

to gung-ho reporter Elizabeth “Bitsey” Bloom (Kate Winslet) who heads

for Texas with intern Zack (Gabriel Mann). Thus, as Gale’s story

unfolds in flashback, Bitsey and Zack become convinced of his

innocence and race against time to discover the truth.

“The Life of David Gale” is a jigsaw, with hints throughout as to


how the puzzle might be solved. It’s a fast-paced, suspenseful

thriller with a pleasingly disturbing Spacey, a believable Winslet

and a considered performance by Linney.

“The Life of David Gale” is rated R for violent images, nudity,

language and sexuality.