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THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE

A passionate foe of capital punishment becomes even more passionate when he is found guilty of murder and ushered to death row.

CAST: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Matt Craven, Rhona Mitra, Leon Rippy, Jim Beaver

DIRECTOR: Alan Parker


"What’s with Kevin Spacey? ‘The Life of David Gale,’ a ludicrous thriller about a death penalty opponent railroaded onto death row, is his third rotten film since ‘American Beauty.’ Small wonder he's decamped to London to run a theater company…‘The Life of David Gale’ is so nasty, hysterical and long-winded--and unintentionally makes capital punishment foes look so twisted--you wish someone had administered a lethal injection to this dreck in its planning stages." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Kevin Spacey now seems determined to make the move from jaunty, caustic leading man to martyr: he sacrificed himself for the betterment of mankind, though not necessarily the moviegoing public, in ‘K-Pax’ and ‘Pay It Forward.’ And now, in the would-be thriller ‘The Life of David Gale,’ he plays a death-penalty opponent facing execution for murder. …this is an enterprise in which everyone is out to make History, instead of a movie…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, The New York Times

"The acting in ‘The Life of David Gale’ is splendidly done but serves a meretricious cause. The direction is by the British director Alan Parker, who at one point had never made a movie I wholly disapproved of. Now has he ever. The secrets of the plot must remain unrevealed by me, so that you can be offended by them yourself, but let it be said this movie is about as corrupt, intellectually bankrupt and morally dishonest as it could possibly be without David Gale actually hiring himself out as a joker at the court of Saddam Hussein. …Spacey and Parker are honorable men. Why did they go to Texas and make this silly movie? The last shot made me want to throw something at the screen--maybe Spacey and Parker." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

" ‘The Life of David Gale’ appears to have been made as some kind of manifesto against the death penalty, but somewhere along the way, the Grisham-esque murder-mystery plot got so scrambled that, finally, it’s anybody’s guess what the filmmakers intended…In the end, the moral of the movie seems to be, If you’re up for murder, don’t be tried in Texas. But then, you already knew that." --Peter Rainer, New York

"Alan Parker, the director of the death-penalty drama ‘The Life of David Gale,’ likes his acting big, his edits hard and his stories slick…Even when they're as deadly serious as Parker's earlier prison-house thriller ‘Midnight Express’ or ‘Mississippi Burning,’ his revisionist take on the civil-rights movement, these are films in which no one and nothing is beyond exploitation…‘The Life of David Gale’ is pitched as a mystery but it doesn't take all that long to piece together the puzzle since neither Parker nor the screenwriter can resist leaving clues scattered through every scene." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"If only sincerity and good intentions were enough. In ‘The Life of David Gale,’ they don't even come close, drastically outweighed as they are by hamfistedness, inane plot points and a smugness that suggests the movie has said all there is to say, when it's barely scratched the surface." --Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

"The movie is such a passionate polemic against capital punishment, particularly as it is applied in George W. Bush's Texas, that Gale's innocence is preordained…The overriding problem of the movie is that it is so blatantly manipulative, it will change no one's mind about the death penalty…After watching ‘David Gale,’ I'm inclined to favor the more direct anti-death-penalty polemics of Tim Robbins' ‘Dead Man Walking’ and Frank Darabont's ‘The Green Mile.’ In trying to disguise his themes within the structure of a noir thriller, Parker was simply more successful at fooling himself than us." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News