The Life of David Gale (2003)





Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Rhona Mitra, Leon Rippy, Matt Craven, Jim Beaver, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Gast, Noah Truesdale, Donald Braswell, Katina Potts, Julia Lashae


When anti-death-penalty activist David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is convicted and condemned to death for the murder of a colleague, reporter Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet) sets out to learn the story behind Gale's crime. What she finds challenges her belief in Gale's guilt and, finally, in the justice system.


Having read many other reviews, I fail to understand how so many can view this as a bad film. I'm addressing this to critics in particular, who seem to have forgotten that beyond the philosophical aspect, the purpose of a movie is to entertain an audience.

Well written, but not well executed, The Life of David Gale is a good film and a deep indictment against death penalty.

Philosopher and screenwriter Charles Randolph is the author of a solid script with a good final twist, despite it spends too much time on Spacey's alcoholic problem. The best part in terms of writing is definitely the dialogue. Load of sap, it gives the film the strength to keep going.

This film goes far beyond the social criticism, and shows us that in drama there is also the awareness of someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for his ideal - and this can be seen in any context, religion being the most quoted nowadays.

Almost enigmatic as the times of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey gives a great performance as David Gale, a man torn between his ideals, family and alcoholic dependence. Kate Winslet also gives a great performance as journo Bitsey Bloom. The supporting cast does a good job overall.

Wanna know my thoughts about death penalty? As Gandhi said, and Kevin Spacey quotes, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."


David Gale: Fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second that 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, it's the fantasy of "it." So, desire supports crazy fantasies. This is what Pascal means when he says that we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness. Or why we say the hunt is sweeter than the kill. Or be careful what you wish for. Not because you'll get it, but because you're doomed not to want it once you do. So the lesson of Lacan is, living by your wants will never make you happy. What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals and not to measure your life by what you've attained in terms of your desires but those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self-sacrifice. Because in the end, the only way that we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others.

1 comment :

  1. If critics can't remember that movies are primarily for entertainment, it is a very good thing you can. And I would agree with you as well. It's a shame about the execution in this one not being too good but it seems like it really focuses on the concepts it discusses more than anything else. That seems to have been done well.