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Monster's Ball (2001)

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, more...
Director: Marc Forster, Marc Forster
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Lions Gate
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 112 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Director Marc Forster, winner of Best Feature at Slamdance for his debut film Loungers (1996) and the "Someone to Watch" Independent Spirit Award for his indie drama Everything Put Together (2000), follows up those acclaimed projects with this intense, racially charged romance. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Georgia prison guard Hank Grotowski, a hard-drinking racist ex-cop whose father, Buck (Peter Boyle), is dying of emphysema and whose son, Sonny (Heath Ledger), works the execution detail at the prison's death row. When Sonny commits suicide, Hank is devastated and quits his job, spiraling into a deep depression until, one night, he comes to the aid of Leticia (Halle Berry), a beautiful African-American woman whose son, Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun), has been hit by a car. When Tyrell dies, Leticia and Hank find themselves to be unexpected soul mates linked together by tragic grief. It's not long before Hank discovers that Leticia is the widow of Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs), the man whose execution by electric chair he and his late son helped to orchestrate. Monster's Ball (2001) is based on a screenplay by actors Milo Addica and Will Rokos, who spent five years developing their script into a feature. Their title refers to the name of an English tradition requiring jailers to throw a party for a condemned man on the night before his death. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

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Dead Man Walking
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Heavy but full of life (and death) by underdog June 17, 2002 - 11:34 AM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Berry deserved her Oscar for her heart-wrenching performance, but Thornton is no less fine in his subtle way. This is a tough film, especially the first half which is beset with tragedy -- but it is full of humanity and tenderness, too. Stick with it. A great debut from Forster -- although a few times I felt he was overdirecting it if anything -- but mostly it's pretty compelling stuff. Interesting audio commentary with Forster and his two leads, too.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.42)
253 Votes
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