Dead Man Walking (1995)

I saw Dead Man Walking at the multiplex. I thought was strange to see a death penalty drama at the multiplex, the subject matter being what it is, but I was also glad because I did not have to go down fifteen blocks to see it at the arthouse, which would be a longer drive.

Dead Man Walking was one of the first films I reviewed for GiveWay magazine. I found a film of depth and goodness and a film I found was talked about positively in Christian circles.

Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking.

Rated R.

Oscar nominee Sean Penn, portrays a man who commits rape and murder and is sentenced to death by lethal injection. A Catholic nun (played by Susan Sarandon in a convincing, powerhouse role) becomes his spiritual advisor.

There are two sides to the story: the “compassion” theology and those in support of capital punishment. The former gets a better hearing in Dead Man Walking.

This film has distinct merits as it tells all the stories of the concerned parties, within a religious and state background addressing a contentious issue.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers, for GiveWay magazine, 1996.

The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, But Came Down a Mountain (1995)

I remember watching this film in a lavish independent theatre, on a sunny afternoon. Spending a sunny afternoon in movie theatre with a sunny movie was delightful. I was heartened by such a pleasingly pleasant movie.

High Grant (left)

Confused by the title? Maybe, but don’t be put off. Here we have a delightfully simple film.

In 1917 two English map makers (played by Hugh Grant and Ian McNeice), go to a Welsh village to measure the famous landmark. Is it a hill or a mountain? Within the plethora of events, romance blossoms. Good entertainment with great performances, about the trivial becoming more than a pursuit and the identity of a village.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers, for GiveWay magazine, 1996.

1994 Italian film

Italian, subtitled film directed by Michael Radford that I originally saw at an independent theatre. It seemed sunnier on the Italian coast than it did outside. I reviewed it in 1996 for GiveWay.

Massimo Troisi, as Mario, in The Postman.

A fantastically simple and entertaining Italian film that has been nominated for five Academy Awards this year including Best Picture.

It stars Phillippe Noiret as Pablo, a Chilean poet and diplomat, in exile in Italy during the 1950’s. It chronicles an event, his life on an Italian island.

A postman, Mario (Massimo Troisi) delivers Pablo’s mail and they strikes up a friendship which consists of Mario learning how to be a poet, taught by the famous Pablo.

Mario is shy person but starts to fall in love with Beatrice Russo and comes to Pablo for advice. Mario starts to blossom as a young poet and the young lady responds to his charm. Soon, a relationship develops. One can almost see the innocence of this relationship.

Director Michael Radford depicts the closeness of the two main relationships that Mario has with Beatrice and Pablo without needing to be pretentious. This is an unassuming film and terrific performances especially Noiret’s gentle aggressiveness and Troisi’s mellow “lethargy” as Mario. The ending shows the consequences or influence in friendship and fighting for a cause.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers, in 1996, for Giveway magazine.