Sling Blade: Blu-ray
Billy Bob Thorton, Dwight Yoakum, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday
(Miramax; US DVD: 4 Aug 2009; UK DVD: 4 Aug 2009)
With Billy Bob Thornton’s keen eye and Daniel Lanois’ laconic musical score, Sling Blade provides a level of dread and anticipatory suspense into what is already a classic character study. Indeed, this is one of the few multi-genre successes, working well within the categories of drama, comedy, thriller, and mystery. It’s an ensemble where one man is clearly the main focus, a tour de force where everyone gets to share in the critical praise. Thornton would go on to a rollercoaster career in Hollywood, courting success and scandal as only the truly gifted and incorrigible can. No one can take away what he did with Sling Blade. In fact, he can make a million Armageddons and a bunch of Bad News Bears and still not tarnish this terrific film. Whether or not it takes mental deficiencies too far, one thing’s for certain—Thornton triumphs in an arena where few of his colleagues have excelled. Sling Blade is the exception that defies the rule.