David Gale was against capital punishment and when he is accused of murdering his friend and fellow activist he is on death row. A week before his date to die reporter Bitsey Bloom is sent to interview him.
*This review will contain SPOILERS*
The Life of David Gale is a very strange film when you look at the ratings on different film sites. While I know this is not always the best thing to look at for films and that you need to make your own mind it up it can often help with your expectations. I also found it quite strange that I haven’t actually come across this film before, given a very strong cast.
David Gale is on death row and only has a few days left before he is due to die for the crime he committed, rape and murder of Constance Harraway. A woman he was actually very close to and worked with, when Bitsey Bloom travels to conduct the three interviews with Gale we are then told the story over those three meetings. This means that majority of the film is in flashback form.
Looking at his life with his wife and young son, but then a strange evening that would spiral his life well and truly out of control. For whatever reason the lecturers and students at a very strange party, like seriously who would do that at a college/university? When he has sex with Berlin in the bathroom, a student who had just been released from the university. She accuses him of rape and this false claim wrecks his entire life. Which we have to feel sorry for him and any other men who are in that situation of being accused for something they did not actually do.
That is not the worst thing about the plot though it gets so much worse. A video exists of the murder and when Bitsey receives it realises that it might not be as it seems. Especially when she is given some details from Gale himself. Although he never fully tells the truth and it makes it difficult to know if he was lying or not.
The film tries to be very clever when it comes to the justice system in the US and the use of the death penalty. That innocent people have been killed when new evidence is found or investigated years later. This is a very heavy subject manner and the way the film then goes into it is in very bad taste. Which was a massive shame as it really could have made some good points.
To have the “murder” actually a suicide and the way it was filmed with the two men helping by not helping. Then Gale being killed for a crime he did not commit really was messed up in the worst possible way. Not forgetting that Bitsey actually tried the method herself when not agreeing with the way her leg moved, I actually could not really believe what I was watching at that point to be brutal.
The scenes with Bitsey and Zack her intern actually trying to work things out were quite decent and something that showed how different the film could really have been.
The performances weren’t necessarily a big issue or anything but what they were given to work with was truly terrible. I adore Kate Winslet and its rather sad that her talents were so wasted in this film. Not forgetting Kevin Spacey in his scenes in the prison being so uninspired. Laura Linney makes some very strange career choices and I am yet to be impressed with anything she has done. I actually thought Melissa McCarthy’s Nico the Goth Girl was rather amusing with it all just so very strange and random.
A truly awful film that does not deserved to be watched at all considering it makes everything even worse in regards to the death penalty. I am sure we have so many other films that can do that so much better.