Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2005, Adrian Shergold)

It's hard to write about this film without sounding like I am copying my friend Dan's thoughts who recommenced this one to me.

Pierrepoint is a damn fine way to spend 90 minutes. Despite the film's breakneck (zing!) speed and pace, the film never loses the viewer or seems sloppy. It might be too short for it's own good and end too abruptly but these are only minor complaints since every minute in this film is great. There no weak scenes or anything that feels rushed over. It's all just gold.

I attribute the films greatness mainly to strength in the performances, mainly Timothy Spall's performance as Pierrepoint. Watching Spall rise in infamy as Britain's most famous executioner is great and Spall just chews every scene he is in with his subtle but still powerful acting.

Another aspect that I loved about the film is how the film chooses to present Pierrepoint. His moral code is never really questioned until he questions it himself in the film. Instead of becoming preachy and having a scene where he reflects on his actions every 10 minutes, the film presents characters who surround Pierrepoint who are instead the ones having a moral crisis or questioning what they are doing meanwhile Pierrepoint just keeps on acting like a straight arrow. It's an interesting way to present the character and it's nice to see that the film doesn't cop out at all with the portrayal of this infamous man.

A great and underrated film for sure.

- A-

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