Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sling Blade

Y'all seen Slingblade? If you haven't rush out now & rent it, it's great.

It's funny, last week I saw two movies with Billy Bob Thornton, one was an obscure film called U Turn, which has a most impressive cast - Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, John Voight, Nick Nolte, and of course Thornton, but is somewhat unsatisfactory. The other was Slingblade, which I have just remembered earned Thornton an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay (from his own play), and an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush won for Shine, bad luck that there werer two "mentally challenged" movies that year). Thornton directed Slingblade too.

Arguably, Thornton was robbed of the Best Actor gong, because his outing here is a tour de force. He plays Karl Childers, a simple man recently released from a hospital for the criminally insane (he axed his mother & her lover to death when he was 12), who makes his way to his old home town & befriends a young boy & his family.

Thornton is pretty much unrecognisable in the role, he's pretty much played Billy Bob Rogue in every movie since & possibly before, but for this one, he is Karl Childers, a man haunted by his past (not just the murders, but also having had to bury his prematurely born, and deformed younger brother alive, when he was around 6 years old.)

He talks in a funny voice, appending a thoughtful "Uh huh" to every sentence. Except for one marvelous moment, when the boy reminds Karl that the bible says it's wrong to kill people, and somehow, Thornton wrings a mighty Mississippi of regret & resignation from the "Uh huh" that ensues. Just magic.

No idea why I'd never seen it before, but I'm real glad I have now. We have debated at home, whether the ending was positive or not - I think there's a case to be made that it is.

There are plot spoilers in the wikipedia entry below.

Sling Blade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia