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The Life of David Gale in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Life of David Gale

Kevin Spacey • Kate Winslet • Laura Linney
DIRECTOR: Sir Alan Parker

Constance Harraway (Laura Linney) and Prof David Gale (Kevin Spacey) THE CONCEPT:
In a strange twist of fate, David Gale, an advocate against capital punishment is condemned to death for the murder of his colleague Constance Hallaway. The only person who can save his life is reporter Bitsy Bloom, but she only has four days to unravel the truth.

U.S. RELEASE: February 21 2003, Nationwide
• Rated: R


“The thriller part of the film is the locomotive that drags the political point behind it. Did I check myself not to be too preachy? Probably, because I had something I wanted to say, but I knew that I had to reach a wider audience, so the thriller part of the film was obviously very important. You don’t really change people’s points of view with one movie, but a film like this can provoke debate.”

KEVIN SPACEY (David Gale):
“For myself, I didn’t have a particularly strong position on the death penalty when I began this project. So I tried to pay attention to both sides of it, and I think I huddle somewhere in the middle, as I think a lot of people do.”

KATE WINSLET (Bitsy Bloom):
“The audience sees [the story] through Bitsy’s eyes, that was an enormous responsibility for me. She is determined to save this man’s life, and the audience has to feel that they want him to live in order for the story to work. That made the challenge so much greater. It was a huge leap for me and I loved every minute of it.”

LAURA LINNEY (Constance Hallaway):
“I was very aware [when reading the script] that it was an odd combination of genres. It’s a murder thriller, set within a very strong political context, within a character driven drama. This is a movie that is going to upset people, and I hope that people remember it’s a movie. It’s going to make people uncomfortable, there’s no doubt about that.”

“What I love about Bitsy is she never presents herself as a woman who is absolutely for the death penalty, but in this case three different courts found David Gale guilty, and that’s enough information for her. Her opinion does change, and that as an actress was such a challenge. She goes on this massive emotional journey and literally completely transforms as a human being.”

“If you look at the history of Alan Parker’s work from Midnight Express to Mississippi Burning, any film that he’s done that deals with social injustice, his skill is he always manages to make politics subversive to emotionalize the characters. So it becomes personal, it’s about exploring ideas and letting the chips fall where they may, and letting the audience come to its conclusion.”

“The thing that was the most impressive to me working with Alan Parker, he is extremely controlling about how the story is being told, but he doesn’t try to control the actors and that’s very smart. He really trusts his actors to come in with a full life and personality traits.”

“This is very much a thriller, and it’s a race against the clock, and it has a whopper of an ending that just throws you right off guard. It’s like The Crying Game, the twist is that powerful.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Universal Pictures
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #628, March 2003 cover

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