David Gale is a man who has tried to live by his principles, but in a bizarre twist of fate this devoted father, popular professor and respected death penalty opponent finds himself on Death Row for the rape and murder of fellow-activist Constance Hallaway. With only three days before his scheduled execution, Gale agrees to give Pulitzer-hungry reporter Elizabeth "Bitsey" Bloom the exclusive interview she has been chasing. But Bitsey soon realizes that this assignment is more than she bargained for, and that a man's life is in her hands. Putting her own safety in jeopardy, she frantically races to piece together the shocking events surrounding Constance's death, before it's too late.
Kevin Spacey plays a death-penalty opponent facing execution for murder. As the title character, a downtrodden philosophy professor and activist who's become an alcoholic criminal, he evinces a weariness in his voice. The words float out of his mouth as if he were too tired to muster the strength for a single inflection, and this gives the picture the merest trace of believability. But that's before the crude, bullying narrative begins peppering the audience with kidney punches: "David Gale" may be the first liberal-leaning movie that could be brought up on assault charges since its director, Alan Parker, made "Midnight Express." Mr. Parker seems to think audiences are incapable of coming to their own conclusions, so he relieves them of that burden by doing it for them. — Elvis Mitchell
2003-02-21 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of The Life of David Gale