A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it's all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him.
A poet falls in love with an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle -- and his love of heroin. Hooked as much on one another as they are on the drug, their relationship alternates between states of oblivion, self-destruction, and despair.
Set in the Southern United States, 'Monster's Ball' is a tale of a racist white man, Hank, who falls in love with a black woman named Leticia. Ironically Hank is a prison guard working on Death Row who executed Leticia's husband. Hank and Leticia's interracial affair leads to confusion and new ideas for the two unlikely lovers.Written by
As part of his research for the film, director Marc Forster actually sat in an electric chair and was horrified to see the nail marks that the electrocuted prisoners had involuntarily scratched into the wood. See more »
In the hospital Laetitia has two huge blood stains on the left side of her shirt. When she arrives with Hank at her home, the shirt is clean. See more »
The initial cut of the picture included more explicit footage during the sex scene between Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, which was trimmed down after the MPAA threatened to give the film a NC-17 rating. The uncut version premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on February 8, 2001. The R-rated US theatrical release is the cut version; the version released theatrically in Canada and most other countries is the uncut version. See more »
(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden
Performed by Lynn Anderson
Written by Joe South
Published by Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Disturbing, engaging work
This is the kind of gritty, fuzz-free reality drama that keeps you musing about it long past the ending credits. It is unsparing in its depiction of all the light and dark sides of the human psyche, from racism to passion to insularity and even corpulence, mounting these on a platform so stark and unambiguous that the audience is not left with many choices - the reactions evoked are exactly the ones intended to be evoked, oscillating between disgust, outrage, sympathy, tenderness and occasionally, even a surreptitious smile.
Most of the characters in the movie suffer somewhat from a lack of complexity, which is compensated for by casting them into circumstantial conflict to create the dramatic tension (a husband is electrocuted, a child dies, another child sends a bullet through his heart and into the couch behind, and so on). This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially because the remarkable performances (particularly from Halle Berry) validate this ploy. The exception to this, however, is the character of Hank Grotowski, played by Billy Bob Thornton. Billy Bob succeeds in imparting a subtle gray shade to this seemingly cardboard-cutout poster-boy-for-the-old-bigoted-south character that makes you hesitate from accepting him at face value. Is this simply about a saturnine, jaded racist being transformed by true love? Well, yes, that's part of it - the obvious part. But something keeps nagging you, preventing you from accepting this linear, justifiable inference, making you want to probe deeper, discover the reasons he has turned out this way, and even, in a perverse way, rationalize them. Is it just the provincial social climate? Is it the long proximity to his bigoted dotard of a father (played admirably by Peter Boyle)? Is he really that way or is he simply going with the flow? No simple explanation seems satisfactory - and the credit for this questioning, this need for deconstruction, goes to Billy Bob's nuanced performance.
All in all, beside the fact that some of the scenes may unsettle the squeamish, and that some promising characters like that of Grotowski's dispirited, conflicted son Sonny (played by Heath Ledger) were knocked off too early, the picture satisfies most norms for a good cinema experience - it makes you think, weep, squirm, analyze, rationalize, everything but walk out before it is over. In other words, it is what good cinema is about.
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