Dead Man Walking
In the movie Dead Man Walking a story is told about a man put on death row, Matthew Poncelet (Seann Penn), who gains the company and friendship of a nun, Sister Helen Prejeon (Susan Sarandon). Through out the movie comments by characters are made to show thoughts and feelings about the death penalty and the people on death row. The radio refers to Pocelet as “scum” but is the director, Tim Robbins, for or against the death penalty? His opinion is revealed through characters and dialogue throughout the movie.
Poncelet’s lawyer talks about how the death penalty has been around for years. And just because now “we don’t see no horror show” doesn’t mean the death penalty is right, or humane. The death penalty is still killing. Killing human beings isn’t viewed by most people as right. So why is the death penalty right?
Only monsters should be killed. In the court scene of the movie it is said that the government believes that only monsters should be killed, and that they have problems killing human beings. “Every person deserves respect.” And what is Poncelet? A person, not a monster, but a human. He, just like most people would, asks for forgiveness. So he to should be respected and not killed.
The director at this point (the end) begins to support his own opinion about the topic through Seann Penn’s character, Matthew Poncelet. Poncelet is asked if he has any last words. Most watching the sentence expect words of hate but instead he asks to be forgiven, and he makes one last statement. He says, “I think killing is wrong whether it’s me, y’all, or the government.” And at the point Tim Robbins thoughts about the death penalty become obvious to the viewer(s).
Not until this last moment, seconds before Poncelet’s death, does it become clear. Clear that Tim Robbins does not support the death penalty, no matter how many people believe in it, or how many years it has been around. He uses dialogue and actions of the characters throughout the...
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