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Deadline (2004)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 9
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 261



Movie Info

One of the biggest hot-button issues dividing the United States has long been capital punishment, so when Illinois Governor George Ryan, a conservative Republican, commuted the sentences of 167 death row inmates the day before his term ended, it shocked the nation and outraged many in his own party. This documentary from the filmmaking duo of Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson explores not only the investigative work done by a group of Northwestern University journalism students that led to … More

Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Oct 5, 2004
Big Mouth Productions - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Deadline

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (1) | DVD (8)

Filmmakers Kate Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson spend much of their film on those hearings, and it's riveting stuff, artfully photographed.

Full Review… | October 6, 2004
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

Not as dynamic as it should be, given the punch of the story it tells, but it makes its points.

Full Review… | October 1, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

So potent, it could change the mind of even the most staunch defender of capital punishment.

October 1, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic

Deadline delivers a routine but effective case against capital punishment.

Full Review… | September 28, 2004
Village Voice
Top Critic

All the more effective because it is calm, factual and unsensational.

Full Review… | June 4, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Impressively take[s] on a hugely important and perennially contentious issue.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

The age-old emotion and complexity that surround capital punishment are ably captured, unfancied-up, by Chevigny and Johnson..

Full Review… | October 2, 2004
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The reasoning on both sides of the debate is by now all too familiar, but rarely has the argument against the death penalty been made so articulately, or so poignantly.

Full Review… | October 1, 2004
TV Guide's Movie Guide

desperately lacking in context and objectivity

Full Review… | September 29, 2004

The film's indisputable overall message is chilling no matter what side of the debate you're on: Some innocent men almost died for crimes for which they were wrongly convicted, so maybe some other innocent men actually did die.

Full Review… | June 5, 2004
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Deadline

[font=Century Gothic]Two recent documentaries about current affairs for your perusal:[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkslategray]"Deadline" is a powerful, provocative documentary about the clemency hearings held by outgoing Republican Governor George Ryan of Illinois in 2002 to explore the death sentences of all 167 death row prisoners after some death row prisoners were found to be exonerated of the charges against them. The documentary explores the history of the death penalty (where one interviewee claims it was used to lynch blacks in the South) to the 1972 Supreme Court decision Furman v. Georgia that temporarily suspended the death penalty(and there are interviews with former prisoners who are alive because of that very decision) to when it was applied again with the execution of Gary Gilmore a few years later. What the film states is that in a perfect world, the death penalty would be used to execute the worst of the worst(for example, John Wayne Gacy) but this is a world with inadequate defenses and coerced confessions.(In a perfect world, I would still be against the death penalty.) If somebody were to be executed, then there is no room for error. This excellent documentary keeps everything on a human level, by interviewing various people who are involved in the criminal justice system, along with several past and current death row inmates. That way, the viewer gets to see what is at stake here.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkslategray][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkslategray][color=dimgray]"Lost Boys of Sudan" is about a group of young men who grew up in Sudan, forced to flee because of civil war to neighboring Kenya to live in a refugee camp. They are eventually allowed to emigrate to the United States. The documentary focuses on two of the men - Peter and Santino. At first they both live in Houston but eventually Peter moves to Kansas where he attends high school and better socializes than Santino. It's interesting seeing the men acclimate to living in the United States but there is nothing here that we have not seen before, especially in the superior documentary, "Balseros."[/color] [/color][/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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