Monster's Ball is a hard hitting drama tempered by a story of powerful, life-changing love set in the deep south USA. It is the story of Hank (Billy Bob Thornton), an embittered prison guard working on Death Row who begins an unlikely, but emotionally charged affair with Leticia (Halle Berry), the wife of a man (Sean Combs) he has just executed (but he doesn’t know that). Monster's Ball has a strong cast which also features Heath Ledger and Peter Boyle. Boyle plays Hank’s bigoted, aging father, whose hatred seems to have poisoned his entire family as much as the family business, which is working on the prison Death Squad. Ledger plays Hank’s son, who is hell-bent on getting out of the family business. The film is directed by Marc Forster who many people may not have heard of but has been picking up awards left right and centre recently. He was nominated for an IFP/West Spirit Award as Best Low Budget Feature and won the Movado "Someone to Watch" Prize at the 2001 Spirit Awards for his film, "Everything Put Together."
So the plot seems pretty solid and the critics like it but is it any good? Well, yes. Considering her other performances in X-Men, The Flintstones, Bulworth: Halle Berry shows a completely different side of her acting skill as the widow, thoroughly deserving her Oscar win (though the speech was a bit over the top!). The theme is pretty sombre and some have described it as confusing in places but it is one of the best put together films we are showing this season and will be a “classic” film in years to come.
A film truly worth seeing.
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, Mos Def
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