"Dead Man Walking" is the unbelievable true story of a nun who counsels a murderer on death row and the community who persecutes her for doing so. If you want to learn about subtle dramatic acting, this is the film to watch. Susan Sarandon received the Oscar for Best Actress with her calculated crescendo of emotions. Throughout the film, her character is put into situations that could justify a strong emotional climax, but she saves it for the end. The final result is a progression of frustrations and overall sadness that all add up in a devastating moment. Sean Penn, Oscar-nominated for Best Actor with this role, creates a similar effect. In his case, the transformation is from denial to acceptance. When a film receives Oscar nominations for Best Actor, Actress, and Director, you know that you will find quality performances. The poignancy of this film lies in its honest story and powerful imagery. The death penalty is a hot-button issue. Rather than preach an opinion, this film opens your mind to thinking deeply on the topic. It vividly shows the crime and the consequences so that you feel the pain of the guilty and the innocent, the predator and the victim, the forgiven and the unforgiven. Is the punishment worthy of the crime? Director Tim Robbins leaves it up to us to decide with one of the most emotionally charged endings that you will ever see.
[Pictured: Some scenes are legitimately difficult to watch]