The film could be easily be dismissed since it takes a while for a viewer to actually take a good hold of the emotion of its content. There weren’t any exciting scenes other than the reality and perspective that it allows you to see. You are brought within the eyes of people experiencing death, loss, life, love, hate, vengeance, coping, etc. It brings you to a certain place in the world where morality and living strangely meets.
Directing: The suspense during the priest’s advice for Sister Helen visiting Matthew, the convict, was reasonable and unexpected. The voicing over of the past letter might have limited the suspense and impact that the first meeting scene offered, while the short scenes that told the story of the convict’s case and murder were good and creative. There were some witty scenes inserted that balanced the mood of the film.
It’s kind of interesting how the climatic scenes were just filmed in the prisoner’s visiting area. The camera angle during the dinner scene was done well, so was the intimacy visitation scene.
Tim Robbins did well with the camera angles during the visitation scenes, even using the glass between Sister Helen and Matthew to show the reflection of their expressions.
Plot: I enjoyed very well the detailed instruction and steps given by Matthew’s lawyer about the lethal injection; it was really interesting and moving, while the confrontation between Sister Helen and the victim’s family was heavy.
The goodbye scene was hard-hitting.
The plot was really simple but the way the story was narrated, edited and told gave its unique hold to the audience. It showed the different perspectives of people handling life, death and morality. It gives us a good sense of being and of life. It is also religious, however, it did not push itself towards the viewer too much that you are dictated what to think. You may not even notice it unless you voluntarily do so.
Characters/Acting: Penn and Sarandon’s acting were incredible and convincing; they really had a good grip with their roles; from the mannerisms, accents, posture, expressions, etc. The overall acting was really good too.
Score: The score had its moments but it wasn’t really relevant for the kind of film this is.