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Based on 15 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 1 )
  • 50
    Ruthe Stein San Francisco Chronicle

    A peculiar little film -- grim and disturbing yet perversely riveting. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    This is a riveting story about a man who for years moonlighted as an anonymous hangman while holding a day job as a wholesale grocery delivery man. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    The key to the film is in the performances by Spall and Stevenson -- and by Marsan. The utter averageness of the characters, their lack of insight, their normality, contrasts with the subject matter in an unsettling way. show more

  • 88
    Ken Fox TV Guide

    British actor Timothy Spall gives a shattering performance as Albert Pierrepoint. show more

  • 75
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    Like its hero, the movie doesn't flinch for most of its running time. show more

  • 75
    The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Invites viewers to think critically about such weighty concepts as justice, atonement and personal accountability. show more

  • 50
    V.A. Musetto New York Post

    You have to wonder just how true to life the melodramatic depiction of these events is, especially since the film was made in partnership with TV's "Masterpiece Theater." show more

  • 75
    Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly

    This measured bio-production might be viewed as a lesser companion piece to "Vera Drake" -- although in the case of Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, all the period-piece tastefulness makes for a story more instructive than emotionally tangible. show more

  • 58
    M. E. Russell Portland Oregonian

    Dramatizes and occasionally overdramatizes Albert's 24-year career. For a while, it's a study of a decent man who puts his life into compartments so he can do terrible deeds. show more

  • 80
    Los Angeles Times

    At once desperately grim and unnervingly gripping, providing an exacting sense of the detail and procedure that went into death by hanging. show more

  • May 22, 2008 johnsbury1
    Report This User

    I had some vague idea that such a thing as a State executioner existed in some Countries, but I seriously doubt I ever considered them to be regular people, that led ordinary lives, if ever I even thought about such things. This movie explores the life of England's State executioner, Albert Pierpoint, between 1933 and 1955 - he hanged 608 people for the State in those years. I am very amazed that such a strange subject could translate into an interesting movie. This movie, while strange and rather morbid, is so strange and well acted that it compels your attention till the end .It is not an exciting movie, but the acting is so superb you feel you are actually seeing the real Pierpoint. Timothy Spall, who plays Albert Pierpoint, was so convincing it appeared he was not acting at all. I find it odd he did not receive an academy award for his fine performance. Mr. Pierpoint became so good at his craft that England sent him over to Germany at the end of WWII to execute Nazi war criminals. In some way the execution of war criminals adds a bit of justification to the character of Pierpoint - it's a dirty job but the Allies must have someone willing to do it. Upon his return to England after the execution of war criminals his anonyimity is blown and he is greeted as a bit of a celebrity. That changes, as England's views on Capital punishment changes. There is an interesting twist in the story that ultimately leads to Pierpoint having a change of heart about the job he has done for the State. I will leave that for the viewer to uncover when they see the film. I recommend this odd and morbid movie.

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