Sling Blade

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 76
  2. Negative: 2 out of 76
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  1. Jun 20, 2015
    9
    I reckon this is a fantastic film. Billy Bob Thornton is impeccable in the lead role here and it is truly a performance that makes me sit there and wonder if I had him all wrong all this time. Maybe he is a great actor. He is also quite the talent as a director and writer as this one is beautifully scripted and paced to perfection. His performance as the mentally slow Karl stands tallI reckon this is a fantastic film. Billy Bob Thornton is impeccable in the lead role here and it is truly a performance that makes me sit there and wonder if I had him all wrong all this time. Maybe he is a great actor. He is also quite the talent as a director and writer as this one is beautifully scripted and paced to perfection. His performance as the mentally slow Karl stands tall though as the best thing about this film, though the performances of everyone else here are also top-of-the-line. The characters are perfectly put together and their relationships feels entirely authentic. The film also feels incredibly Southern, which gives it a great authenticity on that front. A touching, well made, and at times thrilling film, Sling Blade is predictable at times and if you do not figure out how this one will end, you need to rewind and watch it again because you are not paying close enough attention. Yet, in spite of that, it is still a great film featuring an absolutely impeccable performance from Thornton as he proves his ability as an actor, director, and writer. Expand
  2. Jan 24, 2015
    10
    The acting of Billy Bob Thornton was of such a high standard that my only impression was (in the dark room with the journalist) was that Billy Bob was born to act, no other gift was better expressed. The movie had me in tears, it was a subtle performance, it is a sophisticated performance it is a human tale of suffering and just being despite how the world tries to label
  3. Jan 1, 2015
    10
    It will probably go down in film history as Thorton's magnum opus. He is immediately convincing and captivating as Karl, one of the most complex characters I've ever seen in a film, which is ironic to the utmost extent. The script is simple but powerful, nevertheless. And the supporting cast, Lucas Black, John Ritter, and a masterful Dwight Yoakam, is absolutely phenomenal. There are aIt will probably go down in film history as Thorton's magnum opus. He is immediately convincing and captivating as Karl, one of the most complex characters I've ever seen in a film, which is ironic to the utmost extent. The script is simple but powerful, nevertheless. And the supporting cast, Lucas Black, John Ritter, and a masterful Dwight Yoakam, is absolutely phenomenal. There are a lack of suitable hyperboles to describe simply the talent in Sling Blade, in acting, writing, and directing. Expand
  4. May 4, 2014
    10
    Billy Bob Thornton succesfully makes himself a centre of this film : a director, a screenwriter and a leading role, but you will clearly remember one of those, an extraordinary performance. A tagline : "Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place." may has a different point of view, beautiful and dark come up, but it's nothing to do to this film. This film makes SouthernBilly Bob Thornton succesfully makes himself a centre of this film : a director, a screenwriter and a leading role, but you will clearly remember one of those, an extraordinary performance. A tagline : "Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place." may has a different point of view, beautiful and dark come up, but it's nothing to do to this film. This film makes Southern storytelling / drama genre more powerful and stronger. Expand
  5. Apr 8, 2014
    10
    This film manages to be beautiful and dark all at the same time. Although it's very intense in places and really puts you on edge with heightened emotion and great acting, it leaves you feeling warm and with a refreshed love of humanity. Thornton's performance is so hauntingly amazing that you hardly even recognise him as Carl. His entire body and persona becomes transformed, more so thanThis film manages to be beautiful and dark all at the same time. Although it's very intense in places and really puts you on edge with heightened emotion and great acting, it leaves you feeling warm and with a refreshed love of humanity. Thornton's performance is so hauntingly amazing that you hardly even recognise him as Carl. His entire body and persona becomes transformed, more so than any other actor playing any part I've seen. The young Lucas Black gives a phenomenal performance as Frank as well. He's just so natural. I really can't praise this film enough. Thornton is a genius in my eyes and it's perfectly clear how he managed to bag himself Angelina Jolie at one point. Expand
  6. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    This movie made me think about different starting points we have. How we break some chains and how do we act in different circumstances. Movie had it's darker elements and it's up-lifters which were directed plausible. Billy Bob Thornton did a fantastic job. A very good movie.
  7. Aug 24, 2013
    10
    A masterful script. Outstanding acting Thorton is spellbinding in the lead role. His opening scene is without doubt the best I've seen.This is storytelling at its finest and directed with confidence, conviction and ease. Light and shade, humour and a fierce undercurrent of tension. To every film fan watch it now!
  8. Jan 11, 2013
    9
    I had a few little problems with Sling Blade, and I thought there were one or two highly unnecessary scenes and characters. But that is not even close to enough to make me give this a bad review. Billy Bob is movie magic here. His captivating performance of one of the most well-developed characters in movie history is something that I couldn't take my eyes off of. As a kind-spirited,I had a few little problems with Sling Blade, and I thought there were one or two highly unnecessary scenes and characters. But that is not even close to enough to make me give this a bad review. Billy Bob is movie magic here. His captivating performance of one of the most well-developed characters in movie history is something that I couldn't take my eyes off of. As a kind-spirited, mentally handicapped wanderer with seemingly no emotional response to murdering...Karl is a special feat of film making. I feel like if I said more I would spoil it. So I won't Great movie... although I do feel that it could have been a little more badass. Collapse
  9. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Featuring (quite possibly) Billy Bob Thornton's best performance in a film, "Sling Blade" is a simple, yet emotive drama with as much humor as it has heart.
  10. SteveW
    Aug 16, 2009
    10
    This is an unforgettable movie. The story very engaging and powerful. Thortons performance is just amazing, and the movie is just put together really well. I was still thinking about this movie days after watching it.
  11. KenF.
    Feb 10, 2008
    10
    Absolutely amazing movie.
  12. ScottW
    Aug 3, 2007
    10
    This is one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life, and I am 51! It stirred every single emotion I have. Everything about it was superb! It baffles me that this movie has not made any TOP lists that I have seen.
  13. StivenB.
    Feb 12, 2007
    9
    Awesome and powwerful movie. Billy Bob's portrayal and character is moving and extremely believable.
  14. MsG
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    As a mental health professional, Billy Bob's portrayal was excellent and moving. This story is all too common and realistic about people in psychiatric hospitals, from Karl's character to the sadistic rapist in the hospital to Doyle's drunken abusiveness. Excellent portrayal of too common a life for many.
  15. lj
    Sep 23, 2006
    10
    i just seen the movie. Awesome, never thought i would get inot a movie like this. Awesome, i just hate i am just now seeing it.
  16. YvonneH.
    Aug 20, 2006
    10
    This is a story that while calmly told has you on the edge of your seat because you know it's going to have blast of an ending. Well written, great acting. It is so true to life it seems to be based on a true story. Billy Bob and the little boy's acting were amazing.
  17. RitaP.
    Jan 30, 2006
    9
    Great film. Moving, intelligent and engaging.
  18. WiggyMan
    Dec 22, 2005
    10
    Amazing performances, great story. Billy Bob is a freak of the highest proportions :)
  19. zachm.
    Jun 6, 2005
    10
    Outstanding movie... every aspect of screen play covered... acting and writing superb.
  20. RoW.
    Jun 5, 2005
    10
    Excellent movie, very gripping, took me a day after watching it to realize the clever way Karl got back to the Instution he wanted to be back to.
  21. J.RyanG.
    May 29, 2005
    7
    Almost accomplishes on film what the stage version would have done much better. As a stage performance, our eyes would be fixed on the actor's every move, something that is lost in the cinema except with the greatest of performances. Watching the stage performance, we become so transfixed by the performances that the part of our brain that quietly works away at what is to come next Almost accomplishes on film what the stage version would have done much better. As a stage performance, our eyes would be fixed on the actor's every move, something that is lost in the cinema except with the greatest of performances. Watching the stage performance, we become so transfixed by the performances that the part of our brain that quietly works away at what is to come next in the story is shut off. Watching the film version, that part of our brain usually works at full speed. And so, it is easy to see why we are not at all surprised by the turns this movie takes. That doesn't mean that we are not at all delighted. Expand
  22. shaarone.
    May 5, 2005
    10
    I just watched for the first time. One of the best films ever! How in the world Tom Hanks won an oscar for Forrest Gump, and Thorton only nominated is beyond me. Outstanding script, storyliine, acting and directing. I didnt even know John Ritter was in the movie until the close up where Karl is saying goodbye. The person who gave the 6 rating is one of those who rejects a film if it I just watched for the first time. One of the best films ever! How in the world Tom Hanks won an oscar for Forrest Gump, and Thorton only nominated is beyond me. Outstanding script, storyliine, acting and directing. I didnt even know John Ritter was in the movie until the close up where Karl is saying goodbye. The person who gave the 6 rating is one of those who rejects a film if it doesnt meet their real life expectations. Just learn to enjoy the movie and not over psycho analyze. Plus you'll live longer! Expand
  23. VickyJ.
    Apr 26, 2005
    10
    My all time fav cult-following film ever!
  24. charliew.
    Mar 18, 2005
    10
    Amazing! I've watched it twice in one week.
  25. Hawk
    Jan 30, 2005
    10
    This movie is one of the best movies ever made it is a real life movie.
  26. LeslieB.
    Nov 4, 2004
    10
    This movie is an all time favorite! I have watched this at least 20 times!
  27. DerekC.
    Sep 13, 2004
    10
    It's got gully.
  28. AlbertK.
    Jan 28, 2004
    10
    Beeeeautiful!!!!!!!!!
  29. PatC.
    Jan 19, 2004
    6
    Another lawnmower man demonstrates the insanity defense as incentive to resolve domestic problems using items commonly available in any toolshed. Takes Forrest Gump one step farther: The supposition that mentally challenged people are infused with innocent goodness also applies to the criminally insane. Faulkner portrayed the South as sanity-challenged, and it appears this theme Another lawnmower man demonstrates the insanity defense as incentive to resolve domestic problems using items commonly available in any toolshed. Takes Forrest Gump one step farther: The supposition that mentally challenged people are infused with innocent goodness also applies to the criminally insane. Faulkner portrayed the South as sanity-challenged, and it appears this theme hasn't lost any of its appeal. Talk about perpetuating Southern stereotypes. Forrest Gump was an amplification of the struggles and desires of nominally sane people. To extend that charity as justification to sanction slaughter as the exclusive remedy of morons, while not condoning to the rest of us the use of such a simple and effective tool, it's downright discriminatory. Great job by Thornton in bringing a slasher film with polish to the screen, and for opening this can of worms and tweaking us into feeling mentally enlightened and emotionally righteous about a form of dispute resolution that would eviscerate the rule of law back to the stone age. Anyway, enough about the content. Good acting by Thornton in this well-constructed film. A credit to the industry. As for its power to actualize mankind's potential, call it a draw. Expand
  30. RonnieS.
    Oct 7, 2003
    10
    I love this movie, it was one one the best John Ritter films I've seen, next to Skin Deep. I was just stuned by his versatility in a roll of this nature. After seeing this no one can say he's just a comedy gut.
  31. YoonC.
    Sep 21, 2003
    8
    Fine debut by Thorton. The plot element resembles a dark, dysfuctional reworking of Shane. Especially noteworthy is its offering of finely drawn characters instead of easily dismissible stereotpyes. Many heartfelt moments sidestep sentimentality and earn our sympathy without tugging our heartstrings. Thorton's performance is tour-de-force and the movie gradually builds up to a Fine debut by Thorton. The plot element resembles a dark, dysfuctional reworking of Shane. Especially noteworthy is its offering of finely drawn characters instead of easily dismissible stereotpyes. Many heartfelt moments sidestep sentimentality and earn our sympathy without tugging our heartstrings. Thorton's performance is tour-de-force and the movie gradually builds up to a shocking, but perhaps, inevitable, climax. Expand
  32. JohnM.
    Apr 16, 2003
    10
    Best movie I've seen in a long time.
  33. RachimB.
    Dec 4, 2002
    10
    Terrific: beautiful story, acting, cinematography, score. Everything comes together. Thornton appears to dwell within an artless man whose vision and heart function at the level of the heroic. The supporting cast- all of them, even the guy from F Troop - are unhammily convincing.
  34. JeanR.
    Jun 12, 2002
    10
    One of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Thorton's preformance was top notch. It's one of those movie that a person can quote and have fun with. "I like the way you talk boy."
  35. JeffC.
    Dec 25, 2001
    10
    ***** One of the best movies of all time, and definitely BB Thornton's best film. Best acting of an anti-intellect since Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. Best 2 hours I've spent in front of the screen, in years! If you haven't seen it, buy it.. It's worth more than the rental cost! :-)
  36. GlennG.
    Dec 3, 2001
    9
    It's somewhat unbelievable that a person paid in hard currency to write about film could make some of the media-based comments made in this file...this film offers some small insight into what the concept of redemption is about, in combination with good character study. The weakest acting performance in the film belongs to Yoakum. sorry to say. Any person who watches this movie must It's somewhat unbelievable that a person paid in hard currency to write about film could make some of the media-based comments made in this file...this film offers some small insight into what the concept of redemption is about, in combination with good character study. The weakest acting performance in the film belongs to Yoakum. sorry to say. Any person who watches this movie must make a decision about the difference between good and evil and how each of us chooses to PERCEIVE that difference. Those not willing to devote the time or mental energy necessary to that enterprise would be better off taking a nap. Expand
  37. RyanM.
    Dec 2, 2001
    9
    Thornton gives one of the best screen performances of all-time. The film flows like a running stream in the sense it doesn't really start anywhere, and it doesn't really end anywhere.
  38. MarcD.
    Apr 3, 2001
    10
    One of the top 3 films of the last 10 years. Billy Bob's acting and direction are phenomenal. The music also makes this film. Daniel Lanois should have been recognized at Oscar time for this beautiful score.
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 75
    Builds slowly but passionately, not dancing to some Hollywood tune, but finding its characters where they are and letting them be who they are.
  2. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    80
    (Thornton) proves his mettle as an actor, writer and director with this bleakly comic and surprisingly tender movie.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    90
    The lure of Sling Blade is both elemental and hauntingly familiar, and I would not be surprised if Thornton's breakthrough film is one day considered a classic in its own right.