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Tim Robbins

by Thom Bennett

Just because you know how to act in a movie, doesn't mean that you know how to make one. "What I really want to do is direct" has become a sort of mantra for actors in recent years, most of the time resulting in a nice effort, sub-par film. This is hardly the case with Tim Robbins. Rather than rest on the laurels of being one of the finest actors working in film today, Mr. Robbins has taken it upon himself to become one of the cinema's premier directors as well. The results are nothing less than spectacular.

Robbins' first directorial effort came in 1992 with "Bob Roberts". In this brilliant political satire, Robbins did triple duty as star, writer and director. This tale of a Pennsylvania senatorial race served as an humorous yet frighteningly close to the mark examination of dirty politics and the media as right-wing candidate Bob Roberts (Robbins) attempts to manipulate the voters with his fake charm and political trickery.

Continuing to act regularly, Robbins second film, which he also wrote and directed, was 1995's "Dead Man Walking". The film examines the real-life relationship between a nun (Susan Sarandon) and a death row inmate (Sean Penn) who shows little remourse for what he has done. Robbins' unflinching look at the issue of capital punishment and its effects of both the families of victims and those sentenced to death. The film earned Academy Award nominations for best actor (Sean Penn) and best director (Tim Robbins) and Sarandon took home a best actress Oscar for her mesmerizing performance.

As an actor and activist, Tim Robbins has never been one to avoid controversy. It is this strong system of beliefs and political awareness that has elevated Tim Robbins from your average actor turned director to the level of first class filmmaker. Robbins' third film, "The Cradle Will Rock", will be shown at this years Cannes Film Festival.

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