SLING BLADE

by Emery Columna –

A difficult and disturbing movie from Writer, Director, and Actor: Billy Bob Thornton.
Little Lucas Black plays a boy who can peer inside the heart. Sometimes youth is blessed for a moment with an innocence more powerful than fear. Like something out of Aesop, the little boy takes the thorn out of Thornton’s hulking outcast’s paw, earning the little boy & his mother the lost man’s protective devotion as the outgrowth of their Southern Hospitality.

There is a scene in the movie where Thornton says to John Ritter’s character…”That boy lives inside his heart…that’s an aweful big place to be.” That is big medicine…

A lot of Biblical themes entwine themselves with the film, set so deeply in the Bible Belt,… so the passage that comes to mind for me is:
“For without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission for sin.”

The two times Thornton’s Karl Childers picked up a tool for killing, it had something to do with that character’s perception of sin.
The termination scene is the idiot savant’s interdiction and only hope of salvation for the boy & his mother.

Daniel Lanois has a patented aural trademark: Distant, sonic intimacy.
So for this film, Lanois is right at home setting the mood as the frames roll by. I felt that Southern humidity come over me as the images and the sonics collided inside my head.

Dig Aaron Neville’s voice on the end title track, The Maker. Daniel Lanois has moved me ever since U2’s Unforgettable Fire, on which he so skillfully shaped sonics with Brian Eno.

Internet Listening Pleasure: Jimmy Was, Darlin’, Orange Kay, Smothered In Hugs, Omni, The Maker.

Rating: ****

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