Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1996. Miramax, Shooting Gallery. Screenplay by Billy Bob Thornton, based on his play. Cinematography by Barry Markowitz. Produced by David L. Bushell, Brandon Rosser. Music by Daniel Lanois. Production Design by Clark Hunter. Costume Design by Doug Hall. Film Editing by Hughes Winborne.
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 (Natalie Canerday) and her adoring son (Lucas Black) 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 (Dwight Yoakam). Superb acting from the entire cast (that also includes John Ritter and cameos by Jim Jarmusch 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)