A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.
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