THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE Story
The Life of David Gale is an American drama film directed by Alan Parker and written by Charles Randolph. David Gale was head of the philosophy department at the (fictional) University of Austin, an author and active member of Deathwatch, an anti-capital punishment activist group.
At a graduation party, an inebriated David was seduced by Berlin, an attractive student who previously had failed to entice him into raising her failing grade, resulting in her expulsion from school. She later falsely accused Gale of rape. Berlin dropped the charges and fled, but the negative publicity cost him his career and marriage.
Constance Harraway, a fellow Deathwatch activist, is a close friend, especially after Gale’s wife, Sharon, left with their son to Spain. The custody laws there favor the mother and her father was the American ambassador, effectively shutting Gale out of his child’s life. Harraway is found raped and murdered, Gale is charged and convicted, despite the best efforts of his ineffectual lawyer Braxton Belyeu.
Gale awaits execution. He agrees — for a substantial fee — to tell his story to Bitsey Bloom, a nervy journalist from a major news magazine. It becomes clear to Bloom that the details simply do not add up. A mysterious stranger slips evidence to her that suggest Gale has been framed, leaving Bloom only days to save Gale from execution.
An implication that the rapist videotaped the assault is replaced by the revelation that Harraway recorded herself committing suicide, since she was going to die soon regardless from an ongoing battle with leukemia. The video isn’t found until moments before Gale’s death. In a frenzy, Bloom tries to present the evidence to stop the execution. Unfortunately, she doesn’t reach the courthouse in time, and Gale dies an innocent man. The tape is released after his death, resulting in a media and political uproar.
In an epilogue, the mysterious stranger delivers the interview fee from the magazine to Gale’s wife in Spain, along with a postcard from Berlin apologizing for the false rape accusation. His ex-wife looks distraught, knowing Gale told the truth and that she effectively stole their child away from him.
A different videotape is delivered to Bloom, labeled "Off the Record." This one shows Dusty Wright -— the mysterious stranger, who once also belonged to Deathwatch but was asked to leave due to his extremist beliefs -- confirming Harraway's death and then stepping aside to allow Gale, also present, to leave his thumb print on a plastic bag that Harraway used to suffocate herself.