The plot is fairly simple; David Gale (Kevin Spacey), an anti-death penalty campaigner is going to be executed for murder on Friday. Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet) has five days to prove his innocence, based on three two-hour interviews with Gale, and what her investigative skills can uncover, with the film's narrative splitting between flashbacks representing the interviews and the increasingly desperate attempt to save Gale's life. To help the audience understand the switching, we get awful swirling camera effects and amateur-looking montage sequences in transitions.
As I've said, I really don't understand what the film is trying to say. Is it, as the marketing seems to indicate, an anti-death penalty film? If so, it's a ham-fisted attempt at best; the plan behind the framing of Gale is completely ludicrous, and the final reveal makes it even more so.
Kevin Spacey can do this type of part in his sleep by now, and turns in a decent performance, but nothing outstanding. Kate Winslet is hampered by the dual indignities of having to affect an American accent and dyeing her hair blonde (okay, so that might just be me - and, hey, her accent isn't that bad), but she acquits herself quite well, despite the odd clunky moment that the script throws up. The rest of the cast is competent, but nothing outstanding.
In the end, it just seems very confused. I'm trying not to give any too many details, especially about the ending, but too many parts of the framing plan, supposedly executed by intelligent people (the film goes to great lengths to remind of this), rely on complete chance, or are simply too far-fetched to maintain credibility in the eyes of the audience. As this is an Alan Parker film, I'm expecting Empire to give it wide coverage when it comes out in the UK, so maybe he'll explain things there...
The trailer for Bruce Almighty makes me want to wipe out the human race.