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A Father's Revenge
Death Sentence (DVD)
Member Name: cyberem78
Death Sentence (DVD)
Advantages: Kevin Bacon's performance. John Goodman. Exciting and tense.
Disadvantages: Plot is not very original or that clever.
I was recently renting some DVDs from my local library when I came across this thriller called 'Death Sentence' and starring Kevin Bacon. When I read the synopsis on the back of the DVD it basically told me the whole story of the movie (so I strongly advise avoiding reading it if you can!). I thought the film sounded like one of these brutal gun-battle baddie movies that most often star people like Steven Seagal or most recently Jason Statham. I figured that Kevin Bacon must've reached the point in his career when he was reduced to playing these kind of dumbed-down roles. I therefore didn't expect much from this film and was really surprised to find myself completely invested in Bacon's performance throughout the film and feeling like I'd just seen something great when the credits rolled.
This film was initially released in 2007 and is a thriller and drama directed by James Wan of the notorious 'Saw' horror movies. The star of the film is Hollywood stalwart Kevin Bacon ('Hollow Man') as Nick Hume, a normal hard working family man. Nick is about to see his eldest son graduate and move towards a professional ice hockey career when the boy's young life and dreams are ended by a moment of brutal violence at the hands of a mindless, vicious city gang. When the young man's killer is only guaranteed a short sentence for the murder should Nick testify against him in court Nick decides in a moment of anger and grief that he will dish up his own form of revenge on the perpetrator. Gang warfare and their warped sense of fraternity is not something Nick knows anything about though and his decision to stand up to the gang sparks off a massive bloody battle for which he is wholly unprepared.
Kevin Bacon is by far the best thing about this movie. Many less talented actors could have taken this part and the movie would have been an emotionless mess of nothing but violence. Bacon is a class above the standard of storytelling here and he demonstrates great skill in creating a character that audiences can sympathise with on a deep spiritual level amid all the shoot outs and jittery chase scenes. I actually found myself thinking after some of Bacon's scenes: "Wow, that was beautiful acting!". He actually transforms this film into something more meaningful than just a violent thriller and he does it all with his performance.
The only other actor I really recognised in this movie were John Goodman who plays the gang's big cheese. Goodman is an awesome actor who always impresses me in every acting role I see him in. He's also one of those actors that always seems to give 100% and to create something out of nothing, bringing stale scripts to life with his acting magic. He is once again very impressive in this small role and he makes a part that doesn't get much screen time very memorable.
The action and suspense in this film are handled well although towards the end there are moments of graphic violence and gore that seem more suited to the horror genre and which I thought were unnecessarily amplified. I was compelled by the dangerous game that Nick and the gang members played but the plot is not overly clever or complicated. The best moments of the movie come when we see Bacon playing this very vulnerable man who is just pushed over the edge and who loses all sense of reality and normality.
Ultimately I really enjoyed this movie and especially the lead performance. I was never sure how things were going to play out so I was always invested in the characters and the story. Bacon and Goodman were outstanding and they help to elevate this movie into something more art-driven rather than it being just another replication of war games for the boys. I would actually watch this again given the chance and would recommend it to those who enjoy fast paced, exciting thrillers and intense, electric acting performances.
Summary: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this thriller.