August 3, 2023

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: Dead Man Walking (1995)

Just like the “Because You Watched…” lane that pops up on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.

In The Green Mile, we’re introduced to the larger-than-life character of John Coffey with the sniveling guard Percy shouting, “Dead man walking! Dead man walking!”, much to the dismay of head guard Paul Edgecomb. What Paul didn’t realize was that Percy just recommending the perfect double-feature with their movie – Dead Man Walking (1995), directed by Tim Robbins. Starring Susan Sarandon as the nun with a heart of gold and Sean Penn as the racist rapist on death row, this film gets more into the complexities and intricacies of capital punishment.

While The Green Mile really only touched upon the moralities of the government putting someone to death – King was much more interested in those supernatural moments – Dead Man Walking deals with the death penalty and all its issues. We meet the victims, their families, the murderer, his family, the prison guards, the lawyers, and even the governor, all with an interest in one man’s life and death. It’s a thoughtful and heartfelt drama in which you feel for Sister Helen’s plight, as she really is in a no-win situation.

While squarely in the style of most 90s dramas–soft lights, emotional score, religious overtones – Tim Robbins behind the camera has a solid, steady eye for capturing those tearful moments. Look out for surprise cameos from Jack Black and R. Lee Ermey in uncharacteristically dramatic roles. While the movie might be a bit on the saccharine side in the end, this is still a solid movie that delves deeper into the issues surrounding capital punishment.

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