Sling Blade (1996, USA) C-135m. ** D: Billy Bob Thornton. Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Brent Briscoe, Jim Jarmusch. Partly engrossing drama about a mentally handicapped man (Thornton), whose killing of his mother's brutal lover sent him to an insane asylum. Now he is released and must deal with the world around him. He befriends a boy, who seems to suffer the same fate as he did all these years ago. Thornton, who wrote the script based on his own stage play (filmed in 1994 as a short), knows which buttons to push, but the movie is overlong and predictable, you know what will happen long before it does. Good performances. Thornton won an Oscar for his screenplay and was nominated for Best Actor. This film made him famous.

© Ron Altman