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.