Last night I saw on tape the movie The Life of David Gale, a recent movie staring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. The first third of the movie or so to me moved pretty slowly but the later two thirds or so was rather intense.

Warning – there are a few spoilers in what follows.

The reviews of the movie that I read were extremely harsh. I did not think the movie was a great movie but it was better than average. Despite the flaws in the movie (mostly due to a a plot that was hard to believe), I was moved very deeply by seeing the highest sacrifice be made by those who want to stop the most horrible of evils. Watching this renewed by hatred for the concept of the death penalty, which in the end in my eyes is nothing less than murder. I think what hit me the most in the movie was a short montage of (fictional) news coverage about Gail’s coming execution. In this montage, there was one clip where a spokesman for Texas Corrections Dept showed the camera the drugs used to kill the condemned and said “it costs $85 for the taxpayers of Texas.”

At that moment I was shook to the very core… the idea that a human life could be snuffed out so easily and so callously by a system that is so flawed and evil is beyond belief. How can we as humans become so cold, so hardened to death?

One thing in the real world that I found out about after watching this movie was that George Bush when Governor of Texas spent an average of 15 minutes per condemned person in deciding that he would not halt the machine of death. (I first read this statement in Roger Ebert’s review of the movie that is linked below and later confirmed it on this link from Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Anyway here are a few of the reviews…

  • Empire Movies
  • Sun Times – Roger Ebert
      . . . . The secrets of the plot must remain unrevealed by me, so that you can be offended by them yourself, but let it be said this movie is about as corrupt, intellectually bankrupt and morally dishonest as it could possibly be without David Gale actually hiring himself out as a joker at the court of Saddam Hussein. . . .

    I gotta give ol’ Ebert props for this witty paragraph. Of course I would also say that the criminal injustice system in this country and particularly our death penalty system is far more “corrupt, intellectually bankrupt and morally dishonest” than what David Gail and others did.

  • NY Times