|Gramercy Pictures (I) | Release Date: December 29, 1995||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
Sarandon delivers one of her very best performances; her shock at encountering the wrath of the victim's family is registered beautifully. And Sean Penn, who for too long has suffered with the label of being a "bad boy," gives an Oscar-caliber performance.[12 January 1996, Friday, p.B]
A bold, searching, wrenching experience. It may be the most complexly impassioned message movie Hollywood has ever made.
A complex, myriad-faceted work of art.
Their (Sarandon, Penn) performances and Robbins' drive to ask questions without offering easy answers make Dead Man Walking a thought-provoking drama not to be missed or dismissed.
Unusual in both its subject matter and its approach, this film guides us on a pair of intertwined paths American movies rarely venture down.
This isn't a crowd-pleaser in terms of subject matter -- you've got a convict and a nun, with no love scenes -- but Robbins keeps it interesting.
The movie is often preachy and self-conscious, especially in long dialogue scenes, where Robbins's inexpert scriptwriting makes people talk at instead of with each other. Yet the picture's solid assets enable it to soar above such problems, both intellectually and emotionally. [29 December 1995, Film, p.13]
Overpraised, intellectually soft, narratively unfocused, and thematically ambivalent.
The picture is cloudy in intent. That cloudiness is deepened by Susan Sarandon's performance as Sister Helen. If she were giving the role what it seems to demand, a glow of true religious light, the film would have some organic cohesion, a strong spiritual cord running through it. But Sarandon does little more than present her face. [Feb. 5, 1996]
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