Making your life count - that is an important question that anyone with half a brain and a social conscience will address at some point. It has been disturbing me for a while.
There are many related questions: "What is your calling?" "Does the life you lead and gifts you possess match?" "Is this what you want to do with the rest of your life?"
I think the question of happiness rests somewhere here as well. If you are not feeling fulfilled, you are not in a sense acting according to your own nature.
"The Life of David Gale" explores these questions. Combining a social conscience with the question of human meaning, philosophical issues are explored through the lenses of a convicted murderer (Kevin Spacey) and an investigative journalist (Kate Winslet). What was most thought provoking was how the issue of capital punishment rests to a large extent upon competing philosophical anthropologies. Are we at bottom selfish individuals, kept in check by the blunts instruments of carrot and stick? Or are human beings capable of a higher calling - one that on occasion demands self sacrifice and so explicitly recognizes a greater good?
This is not the greatest film ever made and it would not be in my top ten. But the issues explored are significantly important and the performances good enough to warrant a watch.