Halle Berry's blubbing Oscar win shouldn't obscure the fact that this is a brave, harrowing film, echoing the intimacy of '70s cinema's heyday. Billy Bob Thornton is uncannily intense as a Death Row prison guard who cracks up when his son Heath Ledger can't handle his job. An odd coupling with convict's wife Berry may or may not redeem him. Inspirational.

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Score 4

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Monster’s Ball

Halle Berry’s blubbing Oscar win shouldn’t obscure the fact that this is a brave, harrowing film, echoing the intimacy of ’70s cinema’s heyday. Billy Bob Thornton is uncannily intense as a Death Row prison guard who cracks up when his son Heath Ledger can’t handle his job. An odd coupling with convict’s wife Berry may or may not redeem him. Inspirational.