Mourning's Son
Monster's Ball
Review by Ross Anthony

Having missed the pre-release screenings of this picture, I caught up with it at the local theater. Not bad, some very strong acting. And though the film mostly resides in a mood of loss, somberness and prejudice, a tiny beating heart of hope finds it way through the tragedy.

Small town unhurried, "Monster's Ball" refers to the pre-electrocution day "party" held for prisoners on death row. Raised to hate blacks, a correction's officer is confronted by the father of two black boys in one of the film's best scenes. Thornton, Halle, and Ledger perform mightily, amidst solid direction.

The film pushes the edge on acceptable coincidences, early on. Then moves very nicely to what should have been an appropriately uneventful conclusion. Unfortunately, one more complication is tossed in just before resolution - adding nothing, and subtracting a little. (Btw, if graphic love scenes offend you, better skip this one.)

  • Monster's Ball. Copyright © 2001.
  • Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, Heath Ledger, Sean Combs, Mos Def, Coronji Calhoun. Directed by Marc Forster. Screenplay by Milo Addica, Will Rokos. Produced by Lee Daniels at Lions Gate. (c) 2001. Rated R.


Copyright © 2002. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:43 PDT