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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Billy Bob Thornton
Pioneer Entertainment 08/96 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior
Sling Blade is an Academy Award-nominated 1996 film written, directed, and starring Billy Bob Thornton. This riveting character-driven drama is a cautionary tale about the ways in which violence desecrates all life.
Karl has been serving a 25-year prison term for killing his mother and her lover when he was 12 years old. Released by the mental institution, this slow-witted, grunting, and inexpressive man luckily finds work in his hometown as a handyman. Frank (Lucas Black), a lonely and fatherless boy, takes a shine to him and convinces his mother Linda (Natalie Canerday) to let Karl live in the garage. Her best friend Vaughan (John Ritter), a homosexual, runs the local convenience store.
Linda's drunken and often abusive boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam) is resentful of having to share her with "a fag and a retard." Karl, whose Bible-thumping father hated him, is shaken to the core with rage when he recognizes the same kind of hatred in Doyle for young Frank. Sadly he knows only one kind of intervention.
Sling Blade shows that there is no such thing as good or redemptive violence. Violent acts only add to the fund of pain, loss, and hurt in the world.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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