If all the "slow" people in real life were as smart as the "slow" people in films, the evening news would be an hour instead of a half hour because there'd be a lot of pregnant pausing for unscripted drooling. "Sling Blade" is another one of those films in which some "slow" guy turns out to be the smartest person in the picture.
This film threatens to create another one of those impenetrable cultural characters like Dustin Hoffman's in "Rain Man" or Tom Hanks' in "Forrest Gump." While it's actually something of a miracle that there hasn't been a book of popular philosophy titled "I, Rain Man," or a self-help book like "How the Wisdom of Forrest Gump Can Make You Rich," it sure has compelled every jackass in the U.S. to quote these morons endlessly. Don't you just want to force-feed somebody your entire arm every time you hear -- in Dustin's classic drawl -- "three minutes to Wapner?"
Writer/Director Billy Bob Thornton plays Karl Childers, who is automatically released from a mental institution after spending twenty-five years there. He gets out and basically saves the world, which is limited to a small southern town for the purposes of this film. He befriends a kid, Frank (Lucas Black), only to discover that Frank's mom's (Natalie Canerday) boyfriend, Doyle (Dwight Yoakam), is a really mean guy.
Now, given that Karl sliced up his mother and her lover with a sling blade (an agricultural tool kind of like a scythe), what exactly do you think his solution will be for Doyle? You can bet challenging him to a game of Trivial Pursuit is never considered.
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