Written March 20, 2012
Written June 23, 2014
Usually when someone murders and rapes an innocent person, our instant gut reaction is to have that man killed and that he is labelled as a cold-hearten killer. When the act is extremely difficult to forgive, writer/director Tim Robbins proves even the most heinous crimes are forgivable. 'Dead Man Walking' is the story of a man named Matthew Poncelet (a brilliant Sean Penn), a man who is convicted of murdering a young couple alongside another criminal, and Sister Helen Prejean (a superb Susan Sarandon), a nun who works with Poncelet as a spiritual guider before his execution. The two form a relationship that at first is rough, but ends up to a beautiful friendship that provides hope for Matthew Poncelet and turns into a mission for Sister Helen to safe this mans soul. Sister Helen visits the families of those who lost their son and daughter, and are furious as expected and want Poncelet killed instantly. Matthew Poncelet still denies killing either one of the kids, and insists ion being proven innocent. However, everyone except Sister Helen and the tiny family on Matthew want his to bite the dust. The film is very powerful and emotional and it gives you lots to feel about that takes your emotional system on a wild roller coaster. At points you'll want Sean Penn's character to die immediately, and at other times you'll love him to death. That's the mastery of Tim Robbins' writing, he portrays Matthew Poncelet as a human being rather than a sick killer. His directing is perfect as well, and flashback scenes, and prison scenes are shot spectacularly. The film has strong messages of forgiveness and that how people are people no matter what they have done, and that sometimes showing kindness can change people. The film is a monument. As far as acting goes, you will never find two better leading performances better than Susan Sarandon's and Sean Penn's. Each character is superb and shows strong emotions and takes Tim Robbins's interesting characters and turns them into legends. Films that make us emotional stick with us forever, and with 'Dead Man Walking' you'll get an emotional drama that takes on a social issue and teaches society important messages of forgiveness.