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
According to Billy Bob Thornton, he invented Karl's unique facial expressions and speech patterns, plus ad-libbed the entire "sling blade" speech at the beginning of the film, while looking at himself in a make-up room mirror, waiting to film his scene as a train conductor in The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains. His scene was later cut from that film. See more »
When Karl is on Jerry's daughter's bed, the stuffed pig changes direction. See more »
What'cha doin' with that lawn mower blade Karl?
I aim to kill you with it.
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Thornton plays victim to a cruel society where he is released from a long stint in prison and becomes a guardian angel for a young boy who is abused by his mother's lover. A slow sombre piece that gives you time to enter the mental state of Thornton's character. Once you are in there, you realise the humanity that justifies the end actions. Theatrical in style with powerful performances and a haunting music score.
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