Pierrepoint (a.k.a. Pierrepoint—The Last Hangman)

(2007) *** R
96 min. IFC Films. Director: Adrian Shergold (II). Cast: Eddie Marsan, Juliet Stevenson, Timothy Spall, Cavan Clerkin, Christopher Fulford.
The new British indie Pierrepoint, co-produced by Masterpiece Theatre, bitterly regards the culture of capital punishment. Adrian Shergold's film is based on the true story of Albert Pierrepoint, who in her Majesty's service efficiently executed over 600 people between 1933 and 1955. Where screenwriters Jeff Pope and Bob Mills excel is in training the audience how most efficiently to carry out an execution, therefore binding us to a character whose emotional survival is dependent on dissociation. This British equivalent of a star vehicle spotlights beloved character actor Timothy Spall in much the same way Vera Drake did for Imelda Staunton. Pierrepoint has a heavier hand in scoring its political points, and a seemingly bogus catharsis, but Spall does exceptional work, as does Juliet Stevenson as his wife.
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