Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Just finished watching Pierrepoint, a cracking little movie. In America it's called The Last Hangman which is not accurate, still, at least it hasn't got that French-sounding title any more, eh democracy-lovers?

Albert Pierrepoint was a Yorkshireman who, in the first half of the twentieth century, was regarded as the most efficient of the executioners. He was held in such esteem that he was entrusted with the execution of some of the war criminals of WWII. The film covers the period in time between his taking the job of hangman and his resignation in 1956.

This film hangs on the terrific central performances of Tomothy Spall as Pierrepoint and Juliet Stevenson as his wife. Spall maintains a marvelous hangdog, dead-eyed expression that gives nothing away, adding weight to the few times when he lets loose. If not for their work the film would fall apart, as it gives no information about Pierrepoint's life before or after the period of the film. The film struggles to get inside the head of a man who killed people for a living and never quite succeeds, events are altered to suggest that Pierrepoint develops feelings of guilt after executing a friend of his, it leads to the best scene in the film, but it just doesn't convince.

For it's serious script flaws it's beautifully crafted and shot. It's worth a glance if you have the chance.



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