Albert Pierrepoint was perhaps England’s most notorious killer. A killer, who liked to work in secret, but became an overnight sensation, a hero to a country in need and shortly thereafter, a hated and despised man. Pierrepoint was England’s last great hangman.
Pierrepoint the movie is the dramatisation from the time Pierrepoint receives the letter of acceptance into his fathers ‘trade’ to his decision to quit the business ‘of revenge.’
It’s a spell binding drama, with an exceptional performance from Timothy Spall, as the very traditional, proper Englishman who transforms into a shell of his former self with the burden of killing hundreds of people.
It’s also slightly disturbing, as Pierrepoint redefines the clinical approach to capital punishment, setting a new record for speediness that doesn’t go unnoticed. He is in fact, at the hight of his career, the best of the best. There is no one better that Albert Pierrepoint in the killing business.
Pierrepoint however does make a profound statement though his work. As clinical and fast as his executions are, it’s the care and attention he gives the body after wards that speaks volumes.
Albert, though not shown as a religious person of any type in the movie, has a steadfast belief that once you’ve paid for your crime, you’re innocent. And innocent people are due the upmost respect and dignity.
In Albert’s world, all the corpses he has to deal with, post hanging are innocent. They have been redeemed through death, and if anyone on Pierrepoint’s team doesn’t show them the respect they deserve, Albert will let them have a piece of his mind.
It’s a powerful statement, one that mirrors the Christian faith, with all people being born sinners, but made innocent through death.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R16 – Violence and content that may disturb.
Duration: 90 mins.
Genre: Drama, Biography.
Actors: Timothy Spall (Secrets and Lies, Harry Potter) Juliet Stevenson (Being Julia, Mona Lisa Smile) Eddie Marsan (The Illusionist, V for Vendetta).
Director: Adrian Shergold.
Release Date: Available Now