A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man's execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
In reality, Elmo Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie, both inmates on whom Sean Penn's character Matthew Poncelet is based on, were executed by the electric chair in Louisiana in 1984; by 1993, Louisiana switched that penalty to lethal injection as the most humane way to execute. Both Tim Robbins and Helen Prejean opted to use lethal injection in the film instead of the electric chair because, according to Prejean's interview, "We don't want to give people the moral (of the most humane death) out whereby people could say 'Oh well, we used to do electrocution but that's too barbaric so now we are humane and inject them'." See more »
The chemicals used in lethal injections in Louisiana are administered manually, not by a machine as in the movie. See more »
[at Matthew Poncelet's appeals hearing]
The death penalty. It's nothin' new; it's been with us for centuries. We've buried people alive; lopped off their heads with an axe; burned them alive at a public square... gruesome spectacles. In this century, we kept searchin' for more and more *humane* ways... of killin' people that we didn't like. We've shot 'em with firing squads; suffocated 'em, in the gas chamber. But now... Now we have developed a device that is the most humane of all. Lethal ...
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This Film Was Edited On Old Fashioned Machines. This credit was inspired by John Ottman, editor of 'The Usual Suspects'. Ottman had wanted to put "edited on a piece of s*** Steenbeck" at the end of his movie, but settled for the more subtle "Edited on film". Tim Robbins heard about this, and decided to put his own variation of the line on the credits of 'Dead Man Walking.' See more »
"Dead Man Walking" is a piece of incredible filmmaking. All the acting is top-notch and realistic, and the script examines the issue of the death penalty from both sides, paying equal homage to both. Above all, this is a deeply moving story of redemption, of death with dignity and loss of ego. Any film that deals this courageously and maturely with such incredibly difficult subject matter deserves a rating of 10/10. Thank you, Tim Robbins!
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