Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA/Germany, 2003. Universal Pictures, Intermedia Films, Dirty Hands Productions, Mikona Productions GmbH & Co. KG, Saturn Films. Screenplay by Charles Randolph. Cinematography by Michael Seresin. Produced by Nicolas Cage, Alan Parker. Music by Alex Parker, Jake Parker. Production Design by Geoffrey Kirkland. Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus. Film Editing by Gerry Hambling. Berlin Film Festival 2003.
This shameful ripoff of Dead Man Walking stars a smarmy Kevin Spacey (who has never been worse) as a convict on death row for the murder of his anti-death penalty colleague and best friend (Laura Linney). Spacey recounts his story to an earnest journalist (Kate Winslet) who begins to realize that he could possibly be innocent of the crime and now she has to race against time to prove it. Painfully overwrought camera shots and editing tricks try to blind side you from the fact that this is a manipulative and exploitative story, one whose characters aren’t worth the least bit of your time. The final twist at the end is purely the concoction of a runaway screenwriter who is more interested in finding new ways to shock audiences (and insult their apparent lack of intelligence) than to tell them a decent story. Parker, whose films are as hit-and-miss as they get, has sunk pretty low in the past to meet what he feels are audience expectations, but this is the worst it has ever been.