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Monster's ball

Threat advisory: Severe - Severe risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.

Confronting difficult issues of racial prejudice in the southern USA, Monster's ball focuses on a prison where a white father and son, Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Sonny Grotowski (Heath Ledger) are both employed. A black death row inmate, Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Coombs), receives frequent visits from his wife Leticia (Halle Berry) and eventually, the white father begins to fall in love with the black wife, bringing both confusion and new ideas to the fore.

Persons of interest

  • Billy Bob Thornton .... Hank Grotowski
  • Heath Ledger .... Sonny Grotowski
  • Sean Coombs .... Lawrence Musgrove
  • Halle Berry .... Leticia Musgrove
  • Peter Boyle .... Buck Grotowski
  • Mos Def .... Ryrus Cooper
  • Coronji Calhoun .... Tyrell Musgrove
  • John Mcconnell .... Harvey Shoonmaker
  • David Atkins .... Screenwriter
  • Paul Felopulos .... Screenwriter
  • Marc Foster .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


Monster's ball is a slow moving film that's in many senses like the infamous Chinese water torture. It starts out as just a minor irritation but in time it's impossible to resist, all you want is for it to be over, but even when it's finished you're still being driven insane...

In other words, Monster's ball will get to you, slowly but surely.

Billy Bob Thornton is quietly intense, his character so completely lost that he can't even find himself; you know what Billy Bob can achieve with that sort of character. Halle Berry is good enough to win any number of awards. Leticia is not just a scarred soul, she is bleeding from wounds that have not healed in the decade since they were first inflicted. Meanwhile, Heath Ledger finally comes back to what he is best at: acting. "Slash your wrists drama" might not be as much fun as A knight's tale but it sure is more rewarding to watch. You won't believe what he gets up to in Monster's ball.

If you want to be treated to a film that will touch your life, this is one to see. It's dark, it's anguishful, it's astonishing.

God bless America.

PS: Watch for the spelling error in Leticia's name at Hank's garage. Continuity!

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single Sided, Dual Layer
  • Languages: English
  • Picture disc
  • Picture: Widescreen (2.35:1/16:9 Enhanced)
  • Special features:
    • Behind the music
    • Commentaries:
      • Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton
      • Marc Forster
    • Documentary: Anatomy of a scene
    • Interviews: 15 minute feature including interviews with stars Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton and Peter Boyle and director Marc Forster
    • Trailers: 2 originals
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

R 18+ (Adult themes, Medium level violence)

Surveillance time

108 minutes (1:48 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 28 March 2002
DVD rental: 20 November 2002
VHS rental: 20 November 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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