User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 78
  2. Negative: 15 out of 78
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  1. RandyC.
    Sep 10, 2003
    0
    This has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The movie is nothing but a big pile of liberal bias promoting an ideology of doing wrong to further their agenda. ?Wake up America,? the liberals are destroying or beautiful country.
  2. TaylorG.
    Feb 21, 2003
    0
    The plot is nonsensical, inane and cliched.
  3. DanB.
    Mar 1, 2003
    3
    The film wholeheartedly shirks even the semblance of discussion. While Gale (Spacey) and Hallaway (Linney) stand ready to shove well-worn statistics into the film?s every crevice (which might leave you wishing you could do the same), screenwriter Charles Randolph provides not even one character in disagreement. Bitsey (Winslet), for her part, doubts Gale?s innocence but never his The film wholeheartedly shirks even the semblance of discussion. While Gale (Spacey) and Hallaway (Linney) stand ready to shove well-worn statistics into the film?s every crevice (which might leave you wishing you could do the same), screenwriter Charles Randolph provides not even one character in disagreement. Bitsey (Winslet), for her part, doubts Gale?s innocence but never his convictions. Despite being a hard, opinionated newswoman, she seems to have no thoughts on the issue at all. The only scene which offers any sort of counterpoint comes in the form of a televised debate between Gale and the governor of Texas, during which Randolph pulls out all the creative stops: not only does Gale ? the ?towering intellectual?, the ?original voice? ? quote Gandhi?s now more annoying than effective eye for an eye line, but when he fools the governor into endorsing a Hitler quote, he is lifting a debating tactic from none other than Captain James T. Kirk (Star Trek VI ? rent it to see for yourself, it?s better than this movie anyway). Expand
  4. CarrieP.
    Mar 13, 2003
    0
    I just got back from the movie theatre, so it's pretty fresh in my mind... bad storytelling. I usually love Kevin Spacey, but even he couldn't save this movie from it self. His character was so inconsistant that by the end of the movie I couldn't tell if it was for or against the death penelty. The attempt at suspense felt more like discomfort because so many things about I just got back from the movie theatre, so it's pretty fresh in my mind... bad storytelling. I usually love Kevin Spacey, but even he couldn't save this movie from it self. His character was so inconsistant that by the end of the movie I couldn't tell if it was for or against the death penelty. The attempt at suspense felt more like discomfort because so many things about the plot and the characters were unclear. That was about two hours of my life that I'll never get back. Expand
  5. Gabe
    Feb 22, 2003
    0
    This movie has no plot and it sucks #$%.
  6. JohnE.
    Feb 24, 2003
    0
    Bad, just bad... you don't even know who he supposedly killed until there's 45 min remaining in the movie.
  7. TheGilbertMulroneycakesEvent
    Mar 21, 2003
    4
    Elizabeth: bless you, I wish more of the filmgoing public thought like you, and had the ability to enjoy something on its own terms. But. This movie WAS trying to accomplish some great feat, or at least, it said it was. The problem is it doesn't seem to be trying very hard. It's a decent enough thriller, but the script lets it down enormously. I'll cut Randolph a break for Elizabeth: bless you, I wish more of the filmgoing public thought like you, and had the ability to enjoy something on its own terms. But. This movie WAS trying to accomplish some great feat, or at least, it said it was. The problem is it doesn't seem to be trying very hard. It's a decent enough thriller, but the script lets it down enormously. I'll cut Randolph a break for being a newbie, but not for the cop-out ending, which won't be revealed here lest I incur the Wrath Of Ed (rumble of thunder), but I will say this: it undermines everything that the film wants to say about capital punishment, and indeed it undermines the very ACT of saying ANYTHING about it by transparently playing for the audience's benefit, rather than the movie's. There's nothing wrong with playing for the audience, IF you set your stall out as that kind of thing immediately. But Gale tries to be two things at once. And fails. And is therefore a waste of a great cast: the Space, the Lett and the Linn, all great, yet all foundering. Ultimately, Gale is worth your time if your brain's switched off, but it could have been, should have been, and in fact thinks it is, so very much more. Sorry, Elizabeth. Expand
  8. W.ChristopherH.
    Jul 22, 2004
    0
    I saw this movie some time ago, and everytime I overhear somebody in the video store say: "Have you seen this? It's sooo good!" I want to say the most insulting thing possible to that person about his or her lack of taste and judgement. I restrain myself, however, and the reason I do is because the film condemns any attempt on your part to question its logic. It speaks from a I saw this movie some time ago, and everytime I overhear somebody in the video store say: "Have you seen this? It's sooo good!" I want to say the most insulting thing possible to that person about his or her lack of taste and judgement. I restrain myself, however, and the reason I do is because the film condemns any attempt on your part to question its logic. It speaks from a self-righteous standpoint that seems unassailable to those who, as yet, have no convictions of their own which is the vast majority of the viewing public. Personally I am against the death penalty as well, but this film sends a disgusting message and poses that violent extremism is legitimate when it is for a cause. I was appalled by this movie and found it a pretentious, divisive, and completely unproductive approach to discussing capital punishment. Expand
  9. Jul 6, 2011
    5
    the first few minutes of the film are very bearable, and you can see the movie is being supported by actors who are very good at what they do and a nice director. the movie brings so many questions and doesn't answer them, sometimes it's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case - it's very bad. you feel like it wants to be a very exciting thriller but it fails exactly when it gets tothe first few minutes of the film are very bearable, and you can see the movie is being supported by actors who are very good at what they do and a nice director. the movie brings so many questions and doesn't answer them, sometimes it's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case - it's very bad. you feel like it wants to be a very exciting thriller but it fails exactly when it gets to the last scene, after you see it it seems like they wanted to grab everyone's attention and make the film memorable - didn't work on me. not worth watching - next Expand
  10. RC
    Sep 10, 2003
    0
    Nothing but trash!
  11. LuigiA.
    Mar 10, 2003
    0
    What was this movie? Ranks right down there with the worst ever made. Pass-a-dena!
  12. BrookeK.
    Aug 8, 2003
    10
    I have come to terms with the fact that if the critics despise a film I will love it. David Gale is one of the best films I've ever watched. The cast was amazing. The nly thing I will give them is that it was very predictable. As for it sending a message I do believe it did. I have since changed my outlook on the death penalty, based on the speech made by Laura Linney's I have come to terms with the fact that if the critics despise a film I will love it. David Gale is one of the best films I've ever watched. The cast was amazing. The nly thing I will give them is that it was very predictable. As for it sending a message I do believe it did. I have since changed my outlook on the death penalty, based on the speech made by Laura Linney's character. Last but not least My Big,fat,Greek Wedding was a smash hit and "The Life Of David Gale" wasn't? Are we that badly blinded by the critis and their ridiculous opinions. Expand
  13. OlarnS.
    Aug 22, 2003
    7
    This movie got some really bad reviews and perhaps a movie that tried to be an entertaining whodunnit thriller while being preachy at the same time is doomed to fail. But without doubt the movie has many redeeming qualities. The lead actors all performed well, the director's touch was up to his usual high standard, the dialogs were fine. The plot perhaps could be accused of being This movie got some really bad reviews and perhaps a movie that tried to be an entertaining whodunnit thriller while being preachy at the same time is doomed to fail. But without doubt the movie has many redeeming qualities. The lead actors all performed well, the director's touch was up to his usual high standard, the dialogs were fine. The plot perhaps could be accused of being somewhere between implausible and preposterous, but then, what big hit movies don't have implausible plot? One really has to wonder if some critics slammed it because they could not swallow the political message. Capital punishment is something many people are passionate about and to have a film tell you that what you passionately believe in is immoral, cruel, and ultimately useless is bound to spoil anybody's night out. If it is the critic's job to give us readers some indication of whether we are likely to enjoy a movie or not, then many professional critics quoted here did not do their job well, IMHO. Expand
  14. Earlhamite
    Mar 7, 2003
    9
    I liked this movie a lot. I was not expecting the ending at all! The acting was amazing and you really cared for the characters by the end of the movie. Does a movie always have to DO something? It is a movie and not always a political statement. You can take this movie as such. I see it as a good mystery that leaves you speechless and wanting to be able to change things.
  15. GeorgeP.B.
    Apr 8, 2003
    7
    Spacey plays a part well in a movie plot that's not the best. It was dragged out a little too much and that hurts it. It puts an idea out that suggests the failure of capital punishment, killing the innocent guy.
  16. AstolfB.
    Sep 22, 2003
    10
    Well it certainly seems that instead of committing to a review of this movie, many a reviewer tends to lean to the far right politically, especially those down below with their priapic affinity for conflict. I actually thought that the movie provided an interesting twist although, yes, it seems to be a recurring theme with Hollywood these days, but they are learning... It also provides an Well it certainly seems that instead of committing to a review of this movie, many a reviewer tends to lean to the far right politically, especially those down below with their priapic affinity for conflict. I actually thought that the movie provided an interesting twist although, yes, it seems to be a recurring theme with Hollywood these days, but they are learning... It also provides an insight into the extent that a person needs to go to warn a population, that is relentlessly brainwashed by propaganda and the state, about a system that is corrupt, hungry for power and control, and shows a lack of appreciation for humanity. But I suppose that this is quite evident from the reviews. Expand
  17. MeghanE.
    Sep 6, 2003
    10
    I didn't even see the critics reviews until after I watched the movie. and was stunned! I loved the movie, i was trying to hold back my tears for the last half of it; it was very emotional. For me, it wasn't predictable at all. There were so many twists and turns in the end, I had to pause it and say to myself, "wait, what just happened here?" because it all heppened so fast. It I didn't even see the critics reviews until after I watched the movie. and was stunned! I loved the movie, i was trying to hold back my tears for the last half of it; it was very emotional. For me, it wasn't predictable at all. There were so many twists and turns in the end, I had to pause it and say to myself, "wait, what just happened here?" because it all heppened so fast. It was a wonderful movie and I reccommend it to everybody! This just shows that you can't always believe what the critics say! I wasn't watching it for a political standpoint, I was watching it to enjoy it. The characters were extremely strong in their beliefs, and that came through loud and clear......that's what made me like them so well. And in the end, that makes us admire them more and more. How far would you go for something you believed in? Expand
  18. KebB.
    Mar 8, 2004
    7
    Yes it was predictable but the scenario was very plausible. While I am not an anti-death penalty advocate I do appreciate two qualities that make this a plausible scenario. 1) There are people who truly believe that their cause (whatever cause that is) is worth dieing for. And 2) there are also people who truly believe that the ends justify the means. It seems that most of the critics Yes it was predictable but the scenario was very plausible. While I am not an anti-death penalty advocate I do appreciate two qualities that make this a plausible scenario. 1) There are people who truly believe that their cause (whatever cause that is) is worth dieing for. And 2) there are also people who truly believe that the ends justify the means. It seems that most of the critics took major exception to the plausability. I also thought the acting was very good and that standard hollywood contrivances were certainly no worse than most thrillers which generally get much better ratings from the critics. Expand
  19. JohnM.
    Sep 29, 2004
    7
    This film was nowhere near as bad as most of the critics seemed to think it. It certainly seems to have touched on a raw nerve in the collective American psyche, as expressed in the professional and amateur reviews, and I suspect the reviews reflect more political than artistic opinion. The convoluted story doesn't really add a lot to serious debate about capital punishment, not just This film was nowhere near as bad as most of the critics seemed to think it. It certainly seems to have touched on a raw nerve in the collective American psyche, as expressed in the professional and amateur reviews, and I suspect the reviews reflect more political than artistic opinion. The convoluted story doesn't really add a lot to serious debate about capital punishment, not just because the premise seems rather far-fetched, but that it is actually very artificial and contrived. It is too obviously scripted as a thriller, for which it is just as adequate as most other Hollywood thrillers, rather than as a film designed to stimulate meaningful debate on the justice or otherwise of capital punishment. As a non-American I can't help but tell all Americans reading this that I, and most of us civilised foreigners, find your continued fascination with, and use of, capital punishment bizarre and barbaric. Abolishing capital punishment would also save your reviewers from having to put up with what seems to be an onerous duty in having to review films about the subject. Expand
  20. BW
    Aug 1, 2005
    8
    Better than most of the reviews suggest. Yes, it doesn't provide a great piece of evidence on which to base discussions on capital punishment, but it's a film, and it's very entertaining. The twists are excellent though there are a couple of plot holes which, if you can overlook them, don't really matter that much as they are necessary for the film to work.
  21. SteveB.
    Nov 17, 2003
    9
    This movie was far better than the critics indicate. It plays like a taught thriller with a great ending. There are some loose ends that don't get tied up although they don't detract from the main story.
  22. Elizabeth
    Mar 14, 2003
    10
    I really, really enjoyed this movie. I honestly can't understand why everyone is saying it was so bad. I thought that the plot was very well thought out, and it kept me guessing who murdered constance the whole movie. A movie doesn't always have to accomplish some great feat, like some of the people writing reviews think. A movie is to be watched and taken at just that, a movie! I really, really enjoyed this movie. I honestly can't understand why everyone is saying it was so bad. I thought that the plot was very well thought out, and it kept me guessing who murdered constance the whole movie. A movie doesn't always have to accomplish some great feat, like some of the people writing reviews think. A movie is to be watched and taken at just that, a movie! All of those professional critics on this site are just thinking way to much into it. Just enjoy a movie for once. I also thought Spacey did an excellent job of playing his role, he was very convincing, and you grew attached to his character and cared about his fate by the end of the movie. Overall, very well done. Expand
  23. KrisG.
    May 28, 2003
    10
    It's just perfect...
  24. DaveW.
    Jun 13, 2003
    8
    Well I for one couldn't really care what the film tried to say about the death penalty - I was thoroughly entertained. Perhaps moviegoers in the US are blinded to a well executed thriller by what is a contentious issue in your society. Here in South Africa it isn't a big issue so we could just settle in for a great ride. Of course it might be morally reprehensible to make a Well I for one couldn't really care what the film tried to say about the death penalty - I was thoroughly entertained. Perhaps moviegoers in the US are blinded to a well executed thriller by what is a contentious issue in your society. Here in South Africa it isn't a big issue so we could just settle in for a great ride. Of course it might be morally reprehensible to make a movie like this but so is making one with Tom Green in it. Expand
  25. PeterL.
    Sep 15, 2003
    8
    This movie was really good! I wouldn't buy it, but Kevin Spacey's performance alone makes it worth seeing. True, it was a tad predictable, but it was interesting, and Kevin Spacey's character really stole the show. A good flick.
  26. BarryR.
    Feb 24, 2003
    8
    "The Life of David Gale" is a complex story that is well written and well acted. Kevin Spacey is at his predictable best and a surprisingly good Kate Winslett, dry and fresh out of the Titanic lifeboat, does a very nice job as well. The movie, in lesser hands, might have become convaluted and difficult to understand but good directing and a fine script help the viewer to not only "The Life of David Gale" is a complex story that is well written and well acted. Kevin Spacey is at his predictable best and a surprisingly good Kate Winslett, dry and fresh out of the Titanic lifeboat, does a very nice job as well. The movie, in lesser hands, might have become convaluted and difficult to understand but good directing and a fine script help the viewer to not only appreciate what is happening but to also enjoy the many twists the plot takes. Laura Linney also deserves mention since her character is critical to the photoplay and, as expected, she is quite good in the role she plays. I highly recommend this movie and award it an 8. Be prepared to watch and enjoy a qualitty film made from a really fine screenplay. Barry Expand
  27. RebeccaD.
    Feb 25, 2003
    8
    The movie was predictable, I agree w/ the critics BUT, The sixth Sense wasn't? I had that one figured out completely in under 15 minutes! The movie is great!!! Put politics aside, buy some popcorn and enjoy the movie!!! You won't regret it.
  28. SarahH.
    Aug 25, 2003
    10
    Soooooo good
  29. BethJ.
    Sep 17, 2003
    8
    I would of gavie it a 10 if the first 20 minutes or so weren't so slow...great entertainment..I think some of these reviewers need to lighten up a bit and realize that it's entertainment....
  30. DannyC.
    Sep 17, 2003
    9
    Good music, good story, good way of portraying the plot of the movie into the film.
  31. DevonB.
    Dec 22, 2004
    8
    Excellent performances by all involved. I don't believe that it was a film about the death penalty, even though it might present itself as one. It was an entertaining movie. Not as horrible as some might leave you to believe, just go along for a thriller with some thought.
  32. LarsT.
    Nov 19, 2006
    10
    Great film with a great Kevin Spacey.
  33. JessL.
    Nov 21, 2003
    10
    I thought that this movie, despite it's nebulous plot was very good, I think Kevin Spacey did a good job in portraying such a character. It had some turns that were unexpected but the outcome was obvious... nonetheless I still loved it.
  34. Sep 9, 2010
    10
    Sorry for the translation, in mechanical.

    The news: "Abuse a child and then kill." For "his" father and "his" mother open the doors of "non-sense of Life." I, as a reaction manifest emotional reading or hearing this news? Anger, rage, anger, disgust, contempt and then? And then return to "my" peaceful world, shut off "the others and their problems. "One more news,
    Sorry for the translation, in mechanical.

    The news: "Abuse a child and then kill."

    For "his" father and "his" mother open the doors of "non-sense of Life."
    I, as a reaction manifest emotional reading or hearing this news?
    Anger, rage, anger, disgust, contempt and then?
    And then return to "my" peaceful world, shut off "the others and their problems.

    "One more news, unfortunately."
    There is only one name to give to my attitude. Indifference.
    It 'a very serious illness, experts say.
    Symptoms: Do not want to understand, not wanting to speak, not wanting to participate in drama to make an informed choice. The "never happen to me" is the motto of indifference.
    Is not a film to change the "certainty" of people.
    One film, if done well, can help you reflect, perhaps to illuminate the shadows still unexplored. Discussions, debates, meetings, research, well-being. The target is centered.
    Falls into error, I think, who think that "The Life of David Gale" is a film for the Texans, or other states, far from it.
    Texas does not need these films. Why? Becouse this people familiar with the offenses that can lead you to lethal injection.
    It is, however, a punch in the stomach for the rest of the globe,
    this drama lives it only indirectly.

    Think, is not fiction stage for the parties involved, who live "intus et in cute" the execution of a sentence, most often immutable.

    Time adversary, inquisitorial, indictment, the bench, reading the verdict, death row, employees injection, printing, Forum for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and so on.

    It 's a tragedy without end, even turns into tragedy when curtain time and alternate judges as much on the trial. So what about the victims on the attackers.

    The Life of David Gale, in my opinion, a good movie. Is in the dialogues that I see so much sap. Are endless dialogues to release particles of emotional intensity, giving strength and character to most of the work.
    Philosopher and rookie screenwriter Charles Randolph gives to Alan Parker, director, a strong screenplay.
    The film is a work with content suitable for persons who want to think, reflect, ask questions, put a strain on their beliefs.

    Who wants to do, sit in a chair, will not be disappointed.
    Spacey (philosophy professor) and Laura Linney (Constance) are people "triadic" - body, mind, spirit, are committed to a very noble goal. Fight for "life" of those condemned to death.

    Question: - The film's characters are presented as the fanatical extremists of an idea, a proposal or as a people full of passion, transport for that idea? This is important, I think the difference is substantial advantage or disadvantage of static or dynamic of the film, it does not deserve, I believe, hasty judgments.
    Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet), a young but established journalist is asked by David Gale, sentenced to death three days before the execution to hear his story. During the three meetings the journalist did not "only limited to listening," onset of action. A story to follow with a final not so obvious.

    P.S.

    Personally privilege the person who asks questions and I have many reservations for who is considered the holder of certainties. I prefer the question mark (?) That exclamation mark (!). Good Ciak!
    Expand
  35. Feb 11, 2014
    2
    This is Dead Man Walking by amateurs. It's plot is convoluted, the acting is dull, and the ending is an insult. It just doesn't give any arguments regarding the death penalty, all it does is repeat the same message over and over again, bludgeoning you over the head. Thankfully this became a box office bomb.
Metascore
31

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 36
  2. Negative: 15 out of 36
  1. 10
    Another tediously sanctimonious message movie from Alan Parker.
  2. 50
    A shock ending may be the best hope for this film, a convoluted mystery that thinks it's way smarter than it is.
  3. 40
    The film's greatest asset is Linney, whose prickly, finely calibrated performance as the doomed Harraway makes her loss resonate more powerfully than any of the point-counterpoint rhetoric.