“We spend our whole life trying to stop death by eating, inventing, loving, praying, fighting, killing. But what do we really know about death? Just that nobody comes back. But there comes a point in life, a moment when your mind outlives its desires, its obsessions, when your habits survive your dream…Maybe death is a gift.” - Kevin Spacey as David Gale
A highly intelligent and innocent University Head of Philosophy is caught on death row on charges of student’s rape and murder of his colleague. A lady reporter is chosen to interview the convict for three consecutive days prior to the day of his death execution. What looks like a thrilling and intriguing is also a moving political account of the thinking man who supported anti-death penalty and its flawed capital punishment judicial system. Director Alan Parker involves us ‘whodunit’ through series of flashbacks, showing us scene of crime, smart investigation along with few flaws of domestic and emotional drama. But what saves it from being ordinary or forgettable experience is its ending; by ‘ending’ I do mean not climax when drama is over but the last few seconds frame meticulously hid in the film to prove the point summing up the crux of the man and his crime.
The best reason to watch the film is brilliant Kevin Spacey, once again in a memorable and tailor-made role for him, finely supported by one of my all time favorite Kate Winslet and Laura Linney. If Spacey is the face of urban liberal thinker fixed as existential fanatic fighter, the later is fine objectively thinking reporter transforming into subjective empathy knowing the crux of the matter. Spacey is one of the brilliant actors who know how to say lines with his fine command of speech in stress, accent and intonation and he got some of the striking lines in the film. Here’s one which makes all of us think hard- “Fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second you get what you seek you don’t, you can’t want it anymore. In order to continue to exist desire must have its objects perpetually absent. It’s not the ‘it’ that you want, its fantasy of ‘it’.”