Top critical review
A "worthy" film, but it didn't work for me
on 17 November 2016
A "worthy" film in the sense of having a message to convey about how judicial killings are as repugnant as unlawful killings. In Polish with subtitles, set in a grim, ugly urban landscape, the film depicts the brutal and pointless murder of a taxi driver by a young man whose personality is no more than a blank page. The depiction of the murder itself might have seemed especially shocking at the time of the film's release, but violent explicit murders are now the stuff of mainstream entertainment in Game of Thrones or The Sopranos and I don't think a viewer would lose any sleep. The judicial process seemed implausible to me - the young criminal lawyer tortured with guilt that he didn't manage to save his client from the death penalty (lawyers don't fuss too much about the outcome of their cases unless the client is particularly deserving, which this one wasn't) and the violent struggle between several prison officers and the defendant as they dragged him to the noose (if you read Pierrepoint's account of his life and work, you see that actually the defendant is usually calm and resigned, in real life). I'm sure one should allow for artistic licence, but for me the film wasn't sufficiently gripping or engaging and I could only see it as a quaint period piece, an example of the director's individual style of film-making for those who are film buffs.