It is thought provoking movies like "Sling Blade" that make festivals
well attended. And give actors a chance to do what they love, delve into
a character. Billy Bob Thornton has written, directed and stars in a violence
story with no violence. There is plenty of implied violence but thankfully
none of it shows up on screen. As a retarded child, Karl killed his mother
and her lover and is sent to the state mental hospital. His time served
and being deemed "cured", he is sent back into the world. Befriended
by Frank, charmingly played by fourteen year old Lucas Black, Karl comes
to live in an abusive household headed by Dwight Yoakam as the alcoholic
Doyle. In his own simple way, Karl confronts his past in the form of his
now reclusive father, Robert Duvall and make moral decisions.
You know that everyone involved in the project really wanted to be there
when Robert Duvall, J.T. Walsh and John Ritter show up in supporting roles.
Ritter came to the festival to lend his encouragement to the film and has
to be praised not only for his acting but also for his willingness to reinvent
himself and take chances.
Billy Bob Thornton has been praised for his screenplays "One False
Move" and "A Family Thing" co-written with Tom Epperson.
While they focused on the tenuous nature of black-white relations, here
he takes a look at the fuzzy line between right and wrong. Thornton wrote
the script with friends in mind such as Ritter whom he worked with for three
years on the CBS series 'Hearts Afire' and Duvall from "A Family Thing".
Even fellow director Jim Jarmusch shows up as a Frostee Cream waiter.
Since Miramax will be distributing this gem, keep an eye open for it.
Back to 1996 New York Film Festival Reviews
Back to 1996 Telluride Film Festival Reviews
Back to Sling Blade
Back to the Press Room
Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.
Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.