In the mid-1990s, two inmates bury the burned bodies of two lifers at Mississippi's infamous Parchman Farm; a third old-timer relates their story. They'd served 65 years for a murder they didn't commit, framed by a local sheriff while buying moonshine whiskey for a Manhattan club owner to whom they owed money. In flashbacks we see this odd couple thrown together (Ray is a fast-talking con man, and Claude is a serious man about to start work as a bank teller), the loss of Ray's watch (sterling silver, from his daddy), the murder and trial, the hardships of Parchman, and the love-hate relationship of Claude and Ray as they spend 65 years bickering and looking for a way to escape.Written by
Eddie Murphy and Miguel A Nunez Jr would later star together in The Adventures Of Pluto Nash (2002). See more »
When Claude and Rayford are driving to pick up some bootleg liquor, the camera switches over from one side of the car to the other, each time Rayford's shirt is constantly changing from, buttons tied to the top to having the top two buttons undone. See more »
I usually am not a fan of Eddie Murphy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the interweaving of comedy and drama in "Life." At first glance the title seems to refer to the life sentence wrongly given to the two men. As the story unfolds, the viewer sees the "life" they must make for themselves in the spartan setting of a prison in Mississippi. The end of the film should bring the viewer to question what he has done with his life and how much he has depended on "props" for a meaning to his own life.
Many who submitted comments compared "Life" with "The Shawshank Redemption," but a more likely comparison is "Cool Hand Luke," which starred Paul Newman in a similar story also set in a Mississippi prison. The comic gags, such as the warden's curvaceous daughter, were taken from "Cool Hand Luke." Overall, the film is rich in meaning as it shows how life in general is an interweaving of comedy and tragedy. Another comparison story is "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Willa Cather, in which Ms. Cather shows how two priests, also in a spartan situation (a desert pastorate in New Mexico) and without the usual trappings of success, make meaningful lives for themselves while living sacrificially for others.
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