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For the rest of you: Susan Sarandon is in her usual top form as Sister Helen Prejean, a rather naive nun who finds herself unwillingly ensnarled in controversy when she becomes the spiritual adviser to Matthew Poncelot, a convicted killer on Louisiana's death row.His chilling portrayal of Poncelot is convincing and effective.In the film, Poncelot is not much more than a pawn in their bids for election.
I wouldn't suggest seeing it if you're looking for a good time at the movie theater.
Don't look to this movie for much action, adventure, or excitement.
While Penn is subjected to the anguish of waiting for the guards to escort him to the death chamber, the audience too feels each brutal moment slowly tick by.
Worst of all, Poncelot is reduced to a scared child, and no matter how terrible the murders were, I don't believe there was anyone in the audience who could, without any twinge of conscience, think that he deserved to die.
Even politicians do not escape the scope of the film.
Most politicians find it politically impossible to be seen as soft on crime.
Dead Man Walking is a definitive triumph for director Tim Robbins.
It would have been too easy for Robbins (or any director, for that matter) to make a film that staunchly took one side of the issue.
Meanwhile, Poncelot's mother is heartbroken, and cannot testify at his appeal hearings without breaking down in tears. Intertwined with these scenes, which bring on feelings of sympathy for Poncelot, are appalling reminders of the brutality of the murders: flashbacks to the murders and displays of the intense grieving of the family of the victims, who feel that Poncelot's death would give them some semblance of peace.
The film shows how the murders ripped apart the marriage of one of the victim's parents: "Till death do us part," the father bitterly comments.