(ru) wrote: Originally made for television, "Pierrepoint" is the story of Britain's most prolific hangman (not the last, there were nearly forty further executions after he retired from the duty). Albert Pierrepoint was, in fact, the third generation of executioner in his family (his father and grandfather had fulfilled the role before him).Given the subject matter, this is a surprisingly moving film, carried along by a superb performance by Timothy Spall and by an outstanding sense of period and place. Set in the austere decades of wartime and postwar England, direction and design capture a real feel for the era and for the gradual passing of time which led to a change in attitude, culminating in the abolition of the death penalty (abolished in 1969, though the last executions were carried out in 1964).The film portrays Albert Pierrepoint as a conscientious, dignified man who took no gratuitous pleasure in his profession, but who sought to make the last moments of condemned prisoners as calm and as dignified as possible. The film slowly acquaints us with the ordinariness of the executioner's task and routines. Surprisingly, it was a part time job - Pierrepoint worked as a delivery man before taking on the proprietorship of a Manchester pub, being summoned by appointment to the various prisons in England where he carried out his duties.Spall presents the man as decent, as determined to hold on to his anonymity - it was years before he even told his wife what he did on his 'trips'. The call to execute Nazi war criminals after the Nuremberg trials, however, plunged him into the public spotlight and, thereafter, he was subjected to pressures from both the pro- and anti-capital punishment lobby. A private, decent man, he could nevertheless enjoy himself during his leisure time, performing an impromptu cabaret act with a friend in his local pub.Spall voices opinions recorded by Pierrepoint in his autobiography - his insistence that, once executed, the dead person had served their sentence and they were entitled to have their remains treated with respect and dignity. He takes great professional pride in the speed and sensitivity of his actions. However, the responsibilities he carried appear to have placed him under greater and greater strain, and his exposure to publicity and occasional personal attack took their toll.It's a film which avoids the sensational, the morbid, or the macabre. What comes across is the sheer ordinariness of the job - and the extraordinary compassion of the man and his sense of humanity. Spall is a fine, fine actor, and he is ably supported by Juliet Stephenson as his wife and the excellent Eddie Marsan as his friend and fellow public house performer.Pierrepoint would, after his retirement, state that he felt capital punishment failed to act as a deterrent, and recorded that many of the people he executed (over 600) had gone to their deaths with courage and resignation. What the film possibly does not capture is a real insight into this enigmatic character and the conflict he apparently felt about the need to perform his task decently while doubting its very validity. Did he only conclude that the death penalty was not a deterrent after he retired, or had it been a concern during his career?Nevertheless, an exceptional film, beautifully made and very well performed, and a thoroughly engaging piece of cinema.
(it) wrote: Every time this movie improves on something from the first movie, it loses points for things that suck about it. In the end, its just about as enjoyable as the original film. And that level of enjoyability is: barely enjoyable.
(ru) wrote: Astonishing portrayal of a shepherd boy growing up in very hidebound traditional manner, very much at odds with the 20th century, but he overcomes immense difficulties and a very late start to gain an education. The scenes are often brutal, but not without poetry; a counterpoint to La Dolce Vita.
(jp) wrote: Regardless of how much I live Ethan Hawk and his acting, and by the way he is great in Regression anyway, but the whole movie is such a disappointment, no doubt that you will ask yourself 'so what' at the end of the movie! The first 2/3 of the movie is ok but gives you the impression ghat it will end as a cliche, but the last 30 min makes it even worse than a cliche, a pointless one!