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Awake In The Dark
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Old August 28th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Chichester UK
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This film about Britain's most famous hangman of modern times is a work of art. Timothy Spall's performance as Albert Pierrepoint is deep, sympathetic and utterly convincing, the photography draws you in and envelopes you, the script and dialogue are delicate, deep, powerful and moving.
The scenes of execution are detailed and exact without being voyeuristic or gloating; they merely show what went on as this man carried out his job quickly, efficiently and sympathetically. The film shows the man achieving his fame, by being called out to Germany after the Second World War to hang the Nazis who had run Belsen concentration camp, and had been condemned by the Nuremburg Trials. The newspapers latched onto this and his name was out. After that times began to change and hanging became more controversial, until the death penalty was finally abandoned in the 1950s in the UK. Pierrepoints fame soon began to tell against him.
All the above makes this sound like a grim film. It is not. It shows what a man employed by the state to carry out the state's job feels like when that job is one which most of us would never, could never do. He did his work concienciously and with professional pride and Timothy Spall's performance generates a feeling of sympathy with an executioner: if that is not great acting, I don't know what is.
If you can see this film, I urge you to do so.
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