Tim Robbins, 1995 (8.5*) Touching and at times emotionally overwhelming story of Sister Helen Prejean, a nun who started giving spiritual advice to men on death row in Angola Prison in New Orleans. This is based on her own memoirs, published in 1993. Susan Sarandon won a well-deserved Oscar® for best actress for her emotional and passionate performance, as a woman who finds a way to show compassion and mercy for a ruthless killer, played by Sean Penn in his first great dramatic performance, which garnered him his first Oscar® nomination and acting awards.
Sarandon’s husband Tim Robbins (a later Oscar® winner himself for Mystic River) makes a successful directorial debut in a story that is primarily a crime story, as the viewer is eventually given a detailed breakdown of Penn’s violent crimes that placed him on death row.
This is not your typical action-packed crime story, but it gets well beneath the surface of the crimes to expose the troubled psychology of the perpetrators and all who get involved with the repercussions of their sociopathy. This film won't be for all tastes, but if you can handle a serious statement on the subject of death and capital punishment, this is one of the few films that deals with the subject honestly.