Billy Bob Thornton, frankly, is one of the few Hollywood actors who really knows how to completely transform into the characters he plays. You don't have to go far for examples - just compare the taciturn and stingy with emotions Ed Crane from The Man Who Wasn't There and the continuously thumping, cursing, copulating with everything Willie is the most unusual Santa Claus ever seen. But few know that Billy Bob, among other things, also directs a little, and one of his directorial works "Sharpened Blade", to which he personally wrote a script based on his own play of the same name, which he himself has repeatedly staged on stage ... And in 1994. director George Hielencooper directed a 25-minute short called Some Folks Call It a Sfing Blade.
And only one more year later, with a meager budget of 1 million US dollars, which was literally scraped together from the world, a full meter was filmed, which was immediately nominated for 2 Academy Awards. For Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay (won only in the last nomination, which is a pity, because Billy Bob really deserves an actor's prize).
If you talk about the film in a nutshell, then there will be no particular difficulties. There is the main character - mentally retarded but relatively harmless Carl Childers (Billy Bob), who at the age of 12 killed his mother and her lover. Karl is sent to a psychiatric hospital for 25 years. The film begins with the last day of his stay there. Leaving, Karl arrives in his hometown, where the head physician of the hospital arranges for him to work for his friend. The job is to fix the lawnmower batteries, which Karl knows a lot about. In the city, he very quickly meets and makes friends with a 12-13-year-old boy living with a single mother and her evil alcoholic lover who threatens to kill her if she leaves him. Watching him, Karl realizes that he is absolutely unworthy of life, but the Bible, which he read during his stay in the hospital, says that murder is a deadly sin, and Karl faces a difficult decision.
The film is a true swan song, a true project of Thornton's life. But, despite the fact that the main role, on paper, belongs to Karl, in fact, the first violin is far from him. Hero Thornton doesn't seem to exist at all. He, for the most part, sits, listens, observes and only occasionally bursts into speech. On the part of Billy Bob, there is a strong reincarnation here: voice, manner of speech, facial expression, gait, movement - everything is played with exceptional skill. The same initial monologue of Karl, telling the story, runs for almost 6 minutes and is filmed in one shot.
The picture is very reminiscent of its original source, the play, - an abundance of conversations, unhurried action, meager musical accompaniment, full concentration on the acting images and even a fixed camera.