Dead Man Walking
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Tim Robbins' second directorial effort (after the political satire Bob Roberts) was this drama based on a true story, which explores the issue of capital punishment. Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) is a nun and teacher living in rural Louisiana. One day, she receives a letter from Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn), who is scheduled to be executed soon for the rape and murder of two teenagers. After meeting Matthew, Sister Helen agrees to serve as spiritual counselor and see what she can do to stay the execution. However, Matthew's claims of innocence seem shaky at best, and it's… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Tim Robbins's balanced yet uncompromising approach refuses to judge any of the characters, including the killer (superlatively played by Sean Penn), instead giving each a fair chance to present their case with dignity and respect."
‑ Emanuel Levy, Variety
"A thought-provoking drama not to be missed or dismissed."
‑ Sean Means,
"A powerful and provocative film -- not quite a work of art, maybe, but close enough to demand your respectful attention."
‑ Joe Leydon, The Moving Picture Show
"Dead Man Walking is one courageous film, one of the very best of its time."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Dead Man Walking was worth the river of tears I waded through on my way out."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"An intelligent, balanced, devastating movie."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"A daring stand and a daring, uncompromised film."
‑ John Hartl,
"Has the distinction of including not one, but two of the greatest screen performances of all time...undeniably one of the most gut-churning emotional experiences of 1990s cinema... [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"The movie is neither indulgent in its portrayal of emotionally-charged subject matter, nor does it shy away from the consequences of murder."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"It takes a truly great film to be so passionate about its viewpoint while still acknowledging and dignifying those who feel differently."
‑ Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium
"Takes us along on the reluctant, difficult, essentially spiritual journey these two unlikely people make together."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Robbins, who also wrote the script, is no Truman Capote, let alone a Victor Hugo, and his film trips up constantly on indecisiveness about what it is he's trying to say."
‑ Tom Keogh,
"To say that the movie is neither for nor against capital punishment is disingenuous. Still, this is a fine and painful effort overall."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"Penn proves once again that he should stop writing and directing and stick to what he does best."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"The best film ever made about walking the green mile. The performances of Penn and Sarandon will move you."
‑ Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia)
More reviews for Dead Man Walking on Rotten Tomatoes

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