The Life of David Gale

Released 2003


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Movie Summary

Alan Parker

The Life of David Gale is a riveting and intense 2003 prison drama about a college professor that is accused of raping a student and killing a friend. The professor, David Gale (Kevin Spacey), has been a long time opponent to the death penalty, but when he is accused and convicted of these crimes he finds himself walking the mile himself. In desperation for his life, Gale pays his lawyer a hefty fee to hire a journalist, Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet), to tell his story of his actual innocence. Through a series of prison visits, Gale's story is told through a series of flashbacks that start many years back and bring us up to the present situation. As Gale's story unfolds, Bloom realizes that all his facts don't add up with the 'truth.' It is when she decides to do a little investigation of her own, that she finds her every move is being watched and that even her very own life may be at stake. By the end of the film, Bloom uncovers the truth ' that she has been manipulated by Gale and his associates and that they all conspired to frame Gale in order to prove that the death penalty takes the lives of many innocent people. The only question now, is will Gale be pardoned from execution or is it all too late.



Metacritic Score

  • 50

    Variety David Stratton

    Punches the expected buttons without being entirely convincing.

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Manohla Dargis

    Frankly, the film's real surprise is that it doesn't collapse under the weight of its sanctimonious posturing and howling pretension. The film is crammed with high-cultural referen...

  • 30

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    Tries to show it has its heart in the right place, but it's such a crude undertaking that it doesn't actually seem to have a heart at all.

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small town life, controversial, last chance for hope, family tragedy, outrageous situations