Books and Movies Reviews

Dead Man Walikng

In Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking we are introduced to a caring nun, Sister Helen Prejean, who receives a desperate letter from a death row inmate, Matthew Ponsulate, trying to find help to avoid execution for murder. The audience becomes enveloped in their story as we are shown, over the course of the time until the convict’s death, the troubling issues and emotions with which Sister Prejean is faced. She becomes empathetic and agrees to become this man;s spiritual advisor until the day of his execution. As the days continue to count down, we join the characters in their desperate attempt to receive a stay of execution from the court. Throughout their struggle we also become aware of discontent coming from the parents of the victims. They are absolutely outraged at the idea that a nun would be protecting such a monster. Despite their views, she continues to reach out to Matthew and assist him on his way to salvation. In the end, she must decide how she will deal with the paradox of caring for the condemned man while at the same time understanding the hideousness of his crimes.
The characters and setting of this play were among some of the most unique I have seen in onstage performances. The simplicity of the props and background is what I feel made it so interesting. They allowed the audience to more intensely focus on the characters and the action of the play without being too distracted by fancy backdrops or extravagant lighting. There was also a fantastic use of film throughout the production. On the prison-like backdrops, scenes were flashed from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that had occurred. This gave the audience an omniscient role in the play.The characters themselves, I thought, were portrayed in a manner such that one could truly connect with their feelings and intentions. In the case of Sister Prejean, the audience could easily recognize that she had nothing but the best of …