Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1996. Touchstone Pictures. Story by Steven Haft, Ron Koslow, Screenplay by Ron Koslow. Cinematography by Peter James. Produced by Steven Haft. Music by Mark Isham. Production Design by John Stoddart. Costume Design by Colleen Kelsall. Film Editing by John Bloom.
If this film were equal to Sharon Stone‘s performance in the lead, it would be so much more than a bad ripoff of Tim Robbin’s highly superior Dead Man Walking. Rob Morrow plays an earnest lawyer who tries to commute the death row sentence of a prisoner (Stone) accused of murder, the abolishing of capital punishment an issue that is important to him. In his dealings with the inmate, he grows to know her and they strike up a genuine friendship, despite being fully aware of her having committed a terrible crime for which she now stands to die. Stone’s intensity is so wonderful that it hurts to put down the film as unwatchable (the prematurely stopped execution is particularly haunting), but Bruce Beresford’s direction lacks complexity and spiritual strength, something that Robbins’ film had in abundance and made the experience of watching it so challenging and rewarding.