• R, 1 hr. 34 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:    Adrian Shergold
  • In Theaters:    Jun 1, 2007 Wide
  • On DVD:    Oct 30, 2007
  • IFC First Take

Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman Reviews

Page 1 of 3
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
May 31, 2007

Reaches for complexity but ends up, as you'd expect from a partnership with Masterpiece Theater, rendering Pierrepoint palatable as a decent, principled chap who was just doing his job.

Nick Schager
Slant Magazine
May 29, 2007

This recounting of Pierrepoint's rise and fall proves mostly a schematic message movie.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Margaret Lyons
Time Out
Top Critic
November 17, 2011

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
July 17, 2009

Plodding biopic.

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Chris Cabin
June 7, 2007

the end result feels like business as usual done by-the-book.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Mike Russell
July 13, 2007

Overdramatizes Albert's 24-year career.

Full Review | Original Score: C+
Ron Wilkinson
Monsters and Critics
September 7, 2007

Albert Pierrepoint single-handedly killed over 450 people in his career, dispatching most of them with an icy precision in less than 30 seconds.

| Original Score: 6/10
David Hughes
Empire Magazine
May 6, 2006

The actors' understated performances, coupled with an underwritten screenplay, ultimately leave the audience dangling.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
V.A. Musetto
New York Post
Top Critic
June 8, 2007

You have to wonder just how true to life the melodramatic depiction of these events is.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Leslie Felperin
Top Critic
April 6, 2006

Shergold can't quite pull off tricky balancing act between understated working-class poetic miserablism, in the manner of acknowledged exemplar Vera Drake, and an issue-based melodrama's demands for a flashy third-act.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Daily News
June 1, 2007

The filmmakers fall through their own trapdoor, using the hangman's story to fashion a preachy anti-capital punishment message movie that seems at odds with the man himself.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Noel Murray
AV Club
Top Critic
June 9, 2007

Handsomely crafted and well-acted, but its sense of scale is as constricted as a noose.

Full Review | Original Score: C
David Fear
Time Out New York
Top Critic
June 9, 2007

Somewhere in this true story lies a grand statement about what taking lives for a living really does to a person's moral compass. [Director] Adrian Shergold never quite finds it; his film dutifully recounts the facts but only skims the surface.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
November 2, 2007

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Edward Douglas
May 29, 2007

Handles capitol punishment in a similar way that "Vera Drake" tackled the abortion issue ... allows Timothy Spall's resplendent dramatic chops to shine.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Kam Williams
Black Star News
June 5, 2007

An empathetic portrait of a complicated figure, chronicling the mounting toll which his work in the gallows gradually took on his psyche and private life.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Matthew Sorrento
Film Threat
August 7, 2007

Spall is more than worthy of future leading roles.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Prairie Miller
WBAI Web Radio
May 3, 2007

Avoiding the thornier issues around dabbling in a career choice as a kind of government sanctioned serial killer, hangman Pierrepoint instead boasts of his apparently unique talent for completing an execution in record seconds.

Harry Chotiner
July 10, 2007

Based on their press materials, they think they have made a film damning capital punishment and exploring Britain's most famous executioner. In fact, they haven't. But they have made a film of artistic beauty and endless fascination.

Wally Hammond
Time Out
Top Critic
May 6, 2006

What the film does have, however, is the courage of its dark convictions; it's a bleak subject and, commendably, the director doesn't shy away from it.

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