I like to think of filmmaking as an art. Each movie, like a painting, tells a story. Each movie, like a painting, has its own style and unique look or feel to it. It takes a great artist to create a touching, powerful, ironic, or beautiful film. It takes skill to make an audience laugh or cry. So, when given the option of seeing a Van Gogh (The Life of David Gale) or a coloring book scribble (Old School) this weekend, I chose the Van Gogh.

The Life of David Gale is an extremely powerful movie. It tells the ironic story of David Gale (Kevin Spacey, The Shipping News), a brilliant philosophy professor and activist against capital-punishment who is put on death row after being convicted of the rape and murder of his colleague, Constance Harraway (Laura Linney, The Mothman Prophecies). Newsweek reporter Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet, Enigma) is asked to do an interview with him. She is granted two hours a day for the three days leading up to Gale’s execution. Bloom is convinced when she goes into the interview that Gale is indeed guilty. The tag line, however, does say, “The crime is clear. The truth is not.” So, naturally Bloom starts to believe that Gale was framed, and now she has three days to prove it.

I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. The Life of David Gale is an amazing piece of work. It takes the audience on an emotional roller-coaster ride and catapults them through the sad life of David Gale by means of flashbacks. Spacey is awesome. He has once again proved himself as a talented actor and is one of my personal favorites. Winslet was great as the hard as nails reporter who is suddenly overwhelmed by unpleasant emotions. I haven’t seen her in anything since good ole’ Titanic and her return was a great one. Linney is wonderful. Her interaction with Spacey is awesome and she played a tough character extremely well.

I do feel that the end of this movie took things a little too far, but it still is a good story. It isn’t exactly enjoyable, but then again, it isn’t supposed to be. It is touching, moving, powerful, and well told. The film appears to be flawless. I was never left asking, “what the heck happened?” I was never lost. I was just really sad afterward. That, however, means that the film was a success. The Life of David Gale is a tragic story well told.

Although some parts of this film were uncomfortable to be watching with my mother (gee…I wonder what kind of scenes those were) they aren’t unnecessary to the plot. Just to warn moviegoers, this film is rated “R” for a good reason and is not for kids. Some parts are very hard to watch. It is, however, well worth momentary discomfort for adults, as The Life of David Gale is quite possibly one of the best films this year.