Sling Blade (1996)

BILLY BOB THORNTON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

USA, 1996.  Miramax, Shooting Gallery. Screenplay by Billy Bob Thornton, based on his play.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Billy Bob Thornton‘s superb directorial film debut, an adaptation of his own short film Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade. It tells the story of a simpleminded psychiatric ward inmate who was institutionalized as a young man for committing a murder he didn’t entirely understand. Now released into the outside world because he is believed to be cured, Thornton ends up in a small town living with a kindly mother () and her adoring son () and working at a local garage. He makes lots of friends, but unfortunately a few enemies as well, mainly in the form of Canerday’s sadistic and abusive boyfriend (). Superb acting from the entire cast (that also includes  and cameos by  and Robert Duvall) make this extremely low-budget film one of the very best films of the entire year.

Academy Award:  Best Adapted Screenplay
Nomination:  Best Actor (Billy Bob Thornton)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations:  Outstanding Motion Picture Cast; Best Actor (Billy Bob Thornton)

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