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Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking - film report


Dead Man Walking, directed by Tim Robbins, is a superb film, presenting most of the aspects regarding capital punishment. According to my opinion the unique thing about this drama film, released in 1996, is its ability to make people reflect upon and even question their former thoughts concerning death penalty. Various points of view are presented, but the film doesn’t force any conviction upon its audience. With only one exception, which I will get back to later in this account, Dead Man Walking manages to remain objective even when we approach the painful end.


The film is based on Sister Helen Prejean`s book about her experiences with inmates on death row. Sister Helen, masterly interpreted by Susan Sarandon, is the narrator of the film. She receives a letter from Prisoner Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn). Due to a horrible murder to which he claims only to have been an observer, he is now on death row, waiting for his execution. He requests her to come visiting him. In the next couple of days we follow Sister Helens conversations with Matthew, his family and the families of the two teenagers brutally raped and killed. In spite of the fact that Helen meats a lot of anger and sorrow for her being so involved with Matthew she keeps on fighting for his life. But the appeal gets rejected and the execution gets closer. As one could predict Matthew Poncelet suffers the death penalty.

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