Sling Blade

"Extraordinary"

Sling Blade Review


Unlike most critics, I've been largely unimpressed with Billy Bob Thornton's work in the past. From One False Move to A Family Thing, I've always found his writing to lack depth and miss a true focus.

But then there's Sling Blade, and with Thornton in complete control as the writer, director, and star of the show, I do believe he's created a real gem.

Sling Blade has its origins in Thornton's little-seen (and kind of dull) short film, Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade. The short, a 10-minute black and white affair, is actually incorporated -- nearly verbatim -- into the feature. It presents to us the character of Karl, a mentally deliberate man who, as a boy, killed his mother and her lover some 25 years ago. After a long spell in the mental hospital, Karl is "well" and is being released into the world.

That's where the short film ends, and that's where my plot description ends as well, because from there on out, Sling Blade is a true original. The film is an American Gothic tale, following Karl's reluctant return to modern rural Bible Belt society, complete with small-town closet homosexuals (John Ritter, surprisingly good here), bigoted rednecks (Dwight Yoakam), and the Frostee Cream. Unable to deal with the cacophony of new things, Karl just tunes them out, living in the garage of his new little friend (Lucas Black) and subsisting on french fries and mustard, working as a small engine repairman.

But while Karl is simple, he shows us the complexities of life through less experienced eyes, and yet the film never wanders into the campiness of i. Inside is to be found a tale of true friendship, the meaning of love, an amazing morality fable, and some beautiful imagery. All of it to be found in the simplest of places. It feels slow at times, but the pacing actually enhances the experience of being pulled in to the Deep South.

I loved your movie, but don't get cocky, Billy Bob; I want to see another great one. After all, I know Molly Ringwald was in your short film...

Nearly 10 years after its original release, Sling Blade reappears on DVD in a director's cut edition. At nearly 2 1/2 hours long, it feels a bit long, though Thornton's commentary track is a worthwhile distraction. A second disc adds an extensive number of documentaries and interviews, plus extra footage from the set. Recommended.

I'm rubbin' mustard on my belly... mm-hmm.



Sling Blade

Facts and Figures

Run time: 135 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th March 1997

Box Office Worldwide: $24.5M

Budget: $1000 thousand

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , David L. Bushell

Starring: as Karl Childers, as Karl's Father, as Doyle Hargraves, J. T. Walsh as Charles Bushman, as Frank Wheatley, as Linda Wheatley, as Vaughan Cunningham, as Frostee Cream Boy

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.