A partially handicapped man named Karl is released from a mental hospital, about 20 years after murdering his mother and another person. Karl is often questioned if he will ever kill again, and he shrugs in response saying there is no reason to. Now out of the mental institution, Karl settles in his old, small hometown, occupying himself by fixing motors. After meeting a young boy named Frank, who befriends him, Karl is invited to stay at Frank's house with his mother Linda, who views Karl as a strange but kind and generous man. However, Linda's abusive boyfriend, Doyle, sees things differently in the way rules ought to be run- normally insulting Linda's homosexual friend Vaughan as well as Karl's disabilities, and having wild parties with his friends. As Karl's relationship with Frank grows, he is watchful of Doyle's cruel actions. Written by
A magnificent film! Watching Billy Bob, I was reminded of Bo Radley (Robert Duvall)in To Kill a Mockingbird. The irony of seeing Duvall in Sling Blade made it that much more rewarding. Yes, it's true, the ending was inevitable, but so what? The journey to the end was what made this film the gem that it is. Dwight Yoakam made my skin crawl, and Lucas Black as little Frank brought out my motherhood instinct. Protect that boy, Karl! And he did. This had all the elements of a great film: an unselfish hero who brings about changes in the lives of others in a meaningful way. Granted, had his mental capabilities been greater he might have made another choice. Given the circumstances of the film, there was no other choice.
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