Rated NR

The riveting screenplay by rookie writer Charles Randolph is more about the lengths one will go in order to manipulate our judicial system and less about the issue of capital punishment. Kevin Spacey stars as a brilliant philosophy professor and a lead activist of a nonprofit organization that adamantly opposes the execution of convicted felons. Soon his life falls apart after a series of atrocities that ironically land him on death row. Once a young Mike Wallace with PMS (Kate Winslet) is assigned to interview the accused rapist/murderer, the complex plot is slowly pieced together, involving a supposedly framed fall guy, an avaricious attorney, a mute cowboy, a spiteful custody battle, a brutal killing and a Norma Rae of capital punishment. Director Alan Parker packs a powerful punch with the impressive performances of an A-list cast. This thrilling murder mystery unwinds and sends chills up your spine by the end of the film. But to fully enjoy this spine-chilling sensation, you must at all costs ignore the cinematic paradoxes that plague this film: seemingly insignificant and underdeveloped characters that ultimately have key roles in the final act, as well as the twists and turns that fall perfectly into their contrived places when it’s all said and done.


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