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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond in the rough.
Billy Bob Thornton may have been discovered, and rightly so, trough his masterful portrayal of an adult with learning difficulties.
The film focuses on his relationship with the people around him, his family - his father survives after the death of his mother and her lover but he has little interest in Thornton when he is released from care.
In the brilliantly...
Published on 11 Oct 2004 by Mr M Crichton

versus
6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dull Blade
I watched Sling Blade yesterday and agree this was a quality movie. However, some aspects really made me uneasy. Perhaps I misunderstand the American mentality but things in this movie did not completely ring true and therefore to me did not gel - particularly in the ending
Do inmates leave asylums with no clothes, no place to live, no job, or means to support...
Published on 30 Sep 2005


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A diamond in the rough., 11 Oct 2004
By 
Mr M Crichton (Stratford, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
Billy Bob Thornton may have been discovered, and rightly so, trough his masterful portrayal of an adult with learning difficulties.
The film focuses on his relationship with the people around him, his family - his father survives after the death of his mother and her lover but he has little interest in Thornton when he is released from care.
In the brilliantly scripted scenes shared between Thornton and his young companion in the film, there is a relationship growth. It buds from their, unfortunate, similar mental status but becomes something much more than friendship. They share thoughts and understand each other particularly well, and after getting over the intial shock of her son's 30+ year old friend, the boy's mother takes him in and treats him as family.
However the bigotted and aggressive bully played by Dwight Yoakam who infects the mother and son's life doesn't take well to Thornton and as a result the tension throughout the film is progressive and growing.
The film's ending is the perfect portrayal of why life can't ever end up the way we wish, but at the same time it shows insight into the real and genuinely good qualities of the human mind. Thornton's character's thought process to reach the conclusion of what he has to do in the end is evident, and touching.
I've never felt more thoughtful after watching something, it's a must have for anyone who has seen it and loved it on television or in the movies but also for anyone who hasn't seen it, and is yet to have their mindset altered by it.
The one role Billy Bob Thornton should have been given an Oscar for, a real pity he didn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 18 Jun 2013
This review is from: Sling Blade [DVD] (DVD)
A real labour of love from Billy Bob Thornton whose astonishing performance and beautiful direction make this superb drama pack an emotional punch that is rarely matched in modern US cinema.

Rock solid in its authenticity and with a masterful balance of the tough and the tender, 'Sling Blade' presents a smalltown cauldron of prejudice and simmering violence as it experiences the primeval challenge of recognising and responding to an unlikely force for positive change in the guise of Thornton's mentally disturbed character, and his innocent love for a lonely fatherless boy.

Almost a redneck take on aspects of the Beauty and the Beast legend, this manages to be both earthy and poetic at the same time, with great pace and a brilliant script that really allows the characters to live and breathe, and speak in believable rhythms that make sense of the inner turmoil that constantly threatens to imprison them.

A lengthy film filled with fantastic, almost epic-like, photography and attention to detail, that simply flies by as it envelops the viewer in its powerful spell. 'Sling Blade' achieves that rare but oh so satisfying balance of energy and contemplation, the real art of story-telling, that guarantees it a place in the finest of cinematic achievements.

Once seen, never forgotten.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Thornton’s Mesmerising Central Performance, 20 Feb 2014
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sling Blade [DVD] (DVD)
This 1996 Arkansas-set tale of (essentially) bigotry and persecution written, directed and starring Billy Bob Thornton has a subtly authentic feel to it, no doubt at least partly as a result of Bob Thornton’s own rustic upbringing in the State. Of course, Sling Blade has been (rightly) lauded for Bob Thornton’s brilliant central turn as the slow-witted, straight-talking Karl Childers, however, the film also represents a remarkably assured directing debut, as well as containing a restrained, perceptive and darkly comic script (for which Bob Thornton won an Oscar).

Cinematically, Sling Blade is relatively unspectacular, with Barry Markowitz’s camera simply and straightforwardly depicting the film’s rural backdrop, whilst Daniel Lanois’ inventive original music provides a haunting, 'floating’ feel to proceedings. Having said this, Karl’s story is 'topped and tailed’ by two brilliantly atmospheric scenes (reminding me of Milos Forman’s classic One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) in which Karl is being 'talked at’ by fellow ‘patient’, the unsettling Charles Bushman (J T Walsh in a superbly creepy turn). It is, though, primarily via the strength of Bob Thornton’s turn as the disturbed Childers, whose dead-pan, innocent visage and nervy demeanour conceal a painfully troubled past, that the film scores most highly, as, on being discharged back into the community, he befriends the young Frank Wheatley (Lucas Black) and is 'adopted’ into his home with 'single mum’ Linda (Natalie Canerday) and her violently unstable boyfriend Doyle (an impressive Dwight Yoakam).

Of course, one can see the film’s denouement coming a mile off, but this does not detract from what is, for me at least, a highly engrossing (more than) two hour running time. As well as achieving much subtle poignancy (and tension) as Karl finds his way in his new community (guided largely by his readings of the Bible, 'the Lord works in mysterious ways’), Bob Thornton includes much dark humour, often based on Karl’s simple, oblivious take on life – such as during the hilarious café scene with John Ritter’s gay family friend Vaughan, in Karl’s ‘joke telling’ attempts or in the sequence where Linda attempts to 'pair off’ Karl with Christine Renée Ward’s ‘similarly characterised’ Melinda ('I liked walking with you, I got a blister the size of a quarter on one heel’). Most of the film’s powerful scenes are those between 'father-figure’ Karl and the young Frank (Black is Increasingly good in the role), as Karl reflects on the circumstances of his childhood, whilst a similar theme runs through his confrontation with his uncaring, hermit-like father (a cameo by Robert Duvall).

Whilst the film’s conclusion is predictable, macabre and a little melodramatic, Bob Thornton manages to control any sentimentality pretty well (and even throw in some final dark humour). Sling Blade is a compelling demonstration of Bob Thornton’s talent (following his other impressive acting turns in films like A Simple Plan, The Man Who Wasn’t There, One False Move and Monster’s Ball) – a (rounded) talent which I can’t help feeling has probably been under-exploited.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 18 Jun 2013
A real labour of love from Billy Bob Thornton whose astonishing performance and beautiful direction make this superb drama pack an emotional punch that is rarely matched in modern US cinema.

Rock solid in its authenticity and with a masterful balance of the tough and the tender, 'Sling Blade' presents a smalltown cauldron of prejudice and simmering violence as it experiences the primeval challenge of recognising and responding to an unlikely force for positive change in the guise of Thornton's mentally disturbed character, and his innocent love for a lonely fatherless boy.

Almost a redneck take on aspects of the Beauty and the Beast legend, this manages to be both earthy and poetic at the same time, with great pace and a brilliant script that really allows the characters to live and breathe, and speak in believable rhythms that make sense of the inner turmoil that constantly threatens to imprison them.

A lengthy film filled with fantastic, almost epic-like, photography and attention to detail, that simply flies by as it envelops the viewer in its powerful spell. 'Sling Blade' achieves that rare but oh so satisfying balance of energy and contemplation, the real art of story-telling, that guarantees it a place in the finest of cinematic achievements.

Once seen, never forgotten.
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5.0 out of 5 stars B B Thornton's directorial debut, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Sling Blade [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Amazing, since the TV series of Fargo just finished where Billy Bob Thornton stole the show I felt inclined to view some more of his work and what a better place to start than his directorial debut what he also stars in.

I won't tell you the plot because you can see that on IMDb but I love the simplicity of the storty and how Carl see's himself in the young boy he befriends and wants to try and protect, not a complicated plot, such a simple story but well done and a good twist. Highly recommend this to anyone
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5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Bob Thornton, 29 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Sling Blade [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
some great performances in this great film billy bob is brilliant as Karl and Lucas black who plays the boy is to, i love this film it is simply just spellbinding
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the first time, 27 April 2014
This review is from: Sling Blade (Amazon Instant Video)
I remember watching this movie years ago when it first came out and I loved the role that Billy Bob played and the themes that ran through it. All these years later, and this is still a brilliant portrayal of a mentally disabled man who has had a tough life but who has also committed a sin as proscribed in the Bible by killing his mother and her lover. It turns out that Karl is the saviour who ensures that the little boy Frank has the life that Karl didn't get to have. So many themes to talk about but I think everyone should watch this movie as it shows that kindness does exist in the world, through all the cobwebs of nastiness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sling Blade [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Like all blu-rays when compared to watching the DVD version or an old video one watching this film is a clearer, more detailed experience and in many cases it's like looking at the film for the first time as the film stock used to transfer to Blu-Ray is usually "worked on" first to get as good a copy as possible.
My taste in films may not be the same as yours so if you want to know about this film I suggest that you use the internet to find 2 or 3 reviews by experienced film reviewers and make your judgment whether to buy this film or not.
I have watched approx 600 films in my life and have a collection of over 200 Blu-Ray's and I rate this one 8/10.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving, 11 Dec 2013
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I love this film and the acting. The storyline is very moving and original. Billy Bob Thornton's acting is outstanding and should have had an oscar as should the boy who also starred in the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Minor classic, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Sling Blade [DVD] (DVD)
If you're fed up with the disappointment of over-hyped blockbuster Hollywood movies, here is the proof that the Americans can make films with a bit of subtlety and interesting relationships. A potentially horrific subject is treated sensitively by Billy Bob Thornton. The acting is first rate, including an unusually good performance by young boy. Why is it so many country music performers, in this case Dwight Yoakam, make good actors?
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Sling Blade [DVD] [1996] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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