The life and career of the last in a long line of highly praised British executioners is explored in this drama directed by Adrian Shergold and starring Timothy Spall in the role of Albert Pierrepoint. As a youth, Pierrepoint was discouraged from pursuing the family career by a mother who claimed that the horrific line of work spurned his father to take up drink before eventually ushering him to an early grave. Despite his father's adverse reaction to the job's more gruesome details, Albert still thinks that he has what it takes to make it as an executioner and is soon rising to the upper echelon of hangmen thanks to his speed on the job and unwavering humanity. Eventually called before General Montgomery so that he may employ his skills in dispensing the Nuremberg criminals, Pierrepoint earns the respect and admiration of his fellow Britons just as his experiences in Germany stir his increasingly troubled conscience and abolitionists set into motion a heated campaign aimed at bringing the practice of hanging to an end. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
The other reviews on here are correct. This is a very good movie. Timothy Spall is terrific as the British executioner that gained fame by carrying out the executions of many Nazi officers. It's fascinating to watch the level of of commitment and meticulous processes and ideas he devised to cope with his profession. It's difficult to imagine having his job, but even harder to imagine someone taking pride and wanting to be the best at it. I found it a very interesting movie well worht the rental.
At the very end of this film, a sentence appears on the screen. It says that Albert Pierrepoint presided at 608 executions. His unfaltering skill at this grim task--with no ghastly miscalculations--won him respect at the highest government levels. What led to his change of heart and resignation as the UK's most famous hangman is gradually revealed. Timothy Spall is compelling in the title role, but an equally unforgettable character is his friend and pub mate "Tish," played by Eddie Marsan. These are Oscar-worthy performances, in my view.
This may not have all the big hollywood bang that we all have become so used too. But this is a story, and an interesting one if you enjoy a bit of history and prying into the life of another to see their final words, in a job such has his.