Crossing Guard

Crossing Guard

Director: Sean Penn

Cast: Jack Nicholson, David Morse, Anjelica Huston

     
 

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Sean Penn wrote and directed this tale of loss, guilt, and revenge. The daughter of Freddy and Mary Gale (Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston) was killed by a drunk driver, John Booth (David Morse). The death of their child took a heavy toll on the Gales; their marriage broke up, and, while Mary has remarried and attempted to put her life back together, Freddy has… See more details below

Overview

Sean Penn wrote and directed this tale of loss, guilt, and revenge. The daughter of Freddy and Mary Gale (Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston) was killed by a drunk driver, John Booth (David Morse). The death of their child took a heavy toll on the Gales; their marriage broke up, and, while Mary has remarried and attempted to put her life back together, Freddy has become an embittered alcoholic, seething with directionless rage and searching for a purpose in life. Freddy intends to kill Booth as soon as he's released from prison, as he believes that jail was not a severe enough punishment for his daughter's death. But Freddy discovers that Booth is still wracked with guilt for his crime and can barely live with himself. He tells Booth that he has three days left to live; Booth tries to find solace in the arms of artist Jojo (Robin Wright), while Freddy continues to wallow in alcohol and self-pity at a strip club. The Crossing Guard also features an original song by Bruce Springsteen; Penn's previous directorial outing, The Indian Runner, was loosely based on a Springsteen song from his album Nebraska.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Sean Penn's occasionally preachy, but ultimately complicated and challenging, take on the repercussions of drunk driving, both for the victims and the offenders, is a dark study in anguish and redemption. Talented actors were clearly eager to work with the mercurial second-time director, and Penn gets harrowing performances out of Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston, as well as a touchingly chastened one from David Morse as the paroled drunk driver. A simpler film would have demonized Morse as an unrepentant sinner, but Penn is more interested in shades of gray in this brooding look at characters who have randomly developed a regrettable relationship with each other. In fact, Nicholson, as the grieving father, is the film's most unbalanced and least sympathetic element, while the halo above Morse's head is almost visible. The lingering impact on all of their lives is achingly rendered, and Penn deserves credit for dramatizing the festering anger and resentment rather than the predictable hopeless sadness that would have dominated had the narrative started right after the accident. Some critics chided Penn for choosing an issue more commonly befitting an after-school special, but the deep performances excuse the topical subject matter, and the execution hints at Penn's promise beyond the field of acting, which he apparently dislikes.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/01/1997
UPC:
0786936004984
Original Release:
1995
Rating:
R
Source:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Nicholson Freddy Gale
David Morse John Booth
Anjelica Huston Mary
Robin Wright Jojo
Piper Laurie Helen Booth
Richard Bradford John Booth's father
John Savage Bobby
Kari Wuhrer Mia
Priscilla Barnes Verna
Joseph Bottoms Actor
Angie Dickinson Actor
Karen Medak Actor
Leo Penn Actor
Robbie Robertson Roger
Eileen Ryan Woman in Shop
Grant Show Jake Hanson
Lindsay Wagner Actor
Michael Abelar Bum
Penny Allen Woman on Bus
Buddy Anderson Buddy
David Baerwald Peter
Jeremiah Birkett Jefferey's Boyfriend
Nicky Blair Himself
Hadda Brooks Piano Player
Bobby Cooper Coop
Lisa Crawford Cop
William Dignam Crossing Guard
Erin Dignam Peter's Guest 1
Christel Ehde Dancer
Dennis "Chicago" Fanning Cop
Elizabeth Gilliam Little Asian Girl
Ryo Ishabashi Jefferey
Edward L. Katz Eddie
Gene Kirkwood Swinger
Jay Koiwai Asian Man
Jason Kristofer Bus Passenger
Ruby McKoy Deputy Sheriff
Randy Meadoff Bus Passenger
Daysi Moreno Freddy's Chicana
Jeff Morris Silas
Hanna Newmaster Little Girl
Kamala Petty Dancer
Matthew Ryan Twin Boy
Michael Ryan Twin Boy
Richard Sarafian Sunny Ventura
Millicent Sheridan Dancer
Kellita Smith Tanya
Joi Travers Dancer
Joe Viterelli Joe at Bar
Jennifer Leigh Warren Jennifer

Technical Credits
Sean Penn Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Jay Lash Cassidy Editor
Richard N. Gladstein Executive Producer
Per Hallberg Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Haller Production Designer
David Shamroy Hamburger Producer
Jack Nitzsche Score Composer,Songwriter
Jill M. Ohanneson Costumes/Costume Designer
Don Phillips Casting
Mario Roberts Stunts
Bruce Springsteen Score Composer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer

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