Monday, October 16, 2017

Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman (2005)

I found this quite by accident, and it immediately caught my attention because I recognized the name. Albert Pierrepoint was one on England's last hangmen, and he was also the executioner of those condemned Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials.

Knowing a bit about his life, I had wondered how they were going to pull this off without either taking the usual dramatic liberties with the details or making it an endless walk up and down the gallows. I was thrilled that they focused much on the duel nature of executioners, and how Pierrepoint dealt with his grim job while managing to have a relatively healthy "outside life" as well.

From what I could tell, the plot is pretty accurate. I already knew the story so there were really no surprises for me, but I was very impressed with how it was told and the attention to little details. It's certainly a lower budget indie film, but a well done one.

Timothy Spall was an excellent choice for the title role, balancing the dry, "stiff upper lip" that the occupation demands with the tormented emotional side that sometimes takes place when the hangman leaves the prison.

The sets, costumes, and general atmosphere were convincing for the time period and while the story does seem to drag a little at times, it does tell the story well.

Film information: Pierrepoint The Last Hangman

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