Dead Man Walking is a film by Tim Robbins. The movie is emotional due to the murder cases that occur as well as the grief the families of the killings undergo. They pass through so much pain, and sadness rules their life, making it hard for the families to forgive the murderer. Susan Sarandon acts like a nun, Sister Helen Prejean, who meets a convicted murderer, Matthew Poncelet. The movie portrays both sides of the coin because there is compassion that Sr. Helen shows to the convicted murderer and the grief that the families of the victims from Matthew's murder pass through. Sr. Helen needs Matthew to be honest and accept that he committed the crime, which he does in the last minutes of the film. Matthew, in the end, takes responsibility for his actions by telling the truth. The issue about Matthew's case is that he is subjected to lethal injection so that he can die because of his ill acts.
At first, Matthew does not follow God's teachings, and he feels that he does not need God's grace. The families of the teenagers murdered do not stop hating on Matthew, and it becomes hard for them to forgive him. However when he meets Sr. Helen, he develops a special relationship with her, and he stops been desperate for his life. He comes to admit his mistakes in life and apologizes to the families of the victims. The partner in crime with Matthew is lucky enough to have life imprisonment because he has a good lawyer to represent his case. Matthew, on the other hand, has no resources or someone to support him in his case. He is only to have a lawyer from the State that never had previous experience in a murder trial. This leads him to receive a death penalty.
Sr. Helen comes to him as a Good Samaritan because no one else wants to associate with a murderer. Sr. Helen helps Matthew as much as she can and is always there for him whenever he needs any help. The victim's parents, however, feel she is a traitor because of her kindness. Sr. Helen is right to take the step to help Matthew. She is a nun whose work is to give back to the society that is the source of her good morals and values. She teaches others to respect humanity and be like Jesus. Her Christian values enable her to assist Matthew, unlike the rest of the society. She believes there is a good personality in Matthew that people do not see. Two wrongs do not make a right. Therefore, it would be wrong to hate on Matthew just because the victims' families and community do not do it. She is also a nun who has lived among the poor in New Orleans hence understands the problems the less fortunate such as Matthew face in the society. For instance, Matthew has no money or people to defend him in his case. He therefore has to face a death penalty because of that.
In one of the instances, she converses with Percy, who does not understand how she can stand next to and associate with a murderer. She tells Mr. Percy, the father of the female victim that she is just following the example of Jesus quoting that no one is as bad as his or her worst actions. In the film, flashbacks of the acts Matthew did keep recurring in a gloomy light that fades and the visible parts are those of murder thus making Matthew look like an animal. Later, Matthew admits that he needs to seek God's love and admits his crimes. He also asks Sr. Helen to file a petition so that he cannot face a death penalty. This shows that he has found solace in Sr. Helen therefore, she understands what he goes through which is the reason she supports Matthew.
Earl Delacroix and Percy are parents to the victims of Matthew's murders. They have bitterness and sadness because of the murders. For instance, Earl encounters divorce from his wife after the murder of their son. Parents of the girl cannot understand how Sr. Helen can relate with Matthew and when they discover that Helen is not on their side, they send her away from their home. They feel betrayed by her actions and cannot believe that a nun can associate with such a criminal. They want Matthew dead that is not the case for Sr. Helen. The film shows the hard times the families encounter because of losing their children. It is, therefore, right for them to seek justice for the murder cases.
Father Farley does not support Sr. Helen's acts. He asks her if she knows what she is getting herself into and why she has to defend a criminal. He also questions Helen's ability to be a counselor and interact with Matthew. The Catholic Church only allows a priest to be the person who listens to a sinner's confession. In this case, Sr. Helen takes this role and Father Farley is not happy about her role. As a Christian, Farley should help others live spiritually, but he does not assist Matthew, unlike Sr. Helen, who is always on his side. Hilton Barber says that the death penalty has been in the State for centuries and in the current century, the judicial system should seek a humane way to kill a criminal. The most humane form of killing is the lethal injection where the law enforcers officers will just anaesthetize the person and leave him or her to die in a chair rather than making the criminal shed blood.
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