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Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role. Set in Arkansas (filmed in Benton, Arkansas) the film tells the story of a man named Karl Childers who has an intellectual disability and is released from a psychiatric hospital, where he has lived since killing his mother and her lover when he was 12 years old, and the friendship he develops with a young boy and his mother. In addition to Thornton, it stars Dwight Yoakam, J. T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday, James Hampton, and Robert Duvall.

Plot

In the mid-1990s, Karl Childers is an intellectually disabled Arkansas man who has been in the custody of the state mental hospital since the age of 12; at that age, he murdered his mother and her lover. Although thoroughly institutionalized, Karl is deemed fit to be released into the outside world. Prior to his release, he is interviewed by a local college newspaper reporter, and he recounts committing the murders with a kaiser blade, saying, "Some folks call it a sling blade. I call it a kaiser blade." Karl explains that he attended school with his father's boss' teenage son Jesse Dixon, who was a mean-spirited bully and pervert; he thought that Jesse was raping his mother, and decapitated him. When he discovered that his mother was a willing participant in the affair, he killed her also.

Awards