Deadline

"Good"

Deadline Review


You know, frankly I still don't know where I stand on capital punishment. On the one hand, if I was wrongfully accused of committing a crime, I'd probably prefer not to be killed for it. At the same time, I don't have a problem with the execution of mass murderers like John Wayne Gacy, a point that one pundit eloquently makes in the new documentary, Deadline.In a nutshell, the film is a retrospective look at Illinois Governer George Ryan, a former pharmacist and remarkably down to earth gentleman, who, as one of his last acts before leaving office in early 2003, commuted the sentence of every prisoner on death row to life in prison. In broader strokes, the film discusses the death penalty in general, asking whether it's relevant or appropriate in a superpower like America. (According to the film, the U.S. is #3 in executions behind China and Iran.)

The film is indeed partisan, as you might expect, and it offers plenty of testimony from convicted innocents and even families of murdered victims -- all of whom rail against the death penalty. There unfortunately isn't much of a plea here aside from the oft-visited notions that a) execution is cruel and unusual punishment and b) it does nothing to ease the pain of the survivors. Most of the film is content to rehash various cases wherein the wrongly convicted are finally deemed innocent -- further proof that a death sentence is a bad thing.

These are fair arguments but it's an extremely narrow view of the situation, even if you were interested in only showing the anti-death penalty side of the argument. Where, for example, is the standby argument that the death penalty doesn't serve as valuable deterrence in a crime?

And of course there's no viewpoint from the other side of the fence or really even much from a neutral third party. Does the death sentence deter crime or not? Haven't genuine criminals been put to death in the past -- and haven't freed murderers gone on to kill again? What does it cost to house a criminal "for life" without parole? And has this ultimate form of closure given any help to the families of the victims? I'm not arguing for these viewpoints, I just really want to know the answers. Surely the handful of people put to death in America each year is not on par with the Holocaust... or is it?

Ryan is pictured as a hero in this film -- ignoring the fact that he was indicted late last year in a massive corruption probe and left the governer's office a mere step away from the way Nixon did. But the guy seems like a nice fellow, and his heart is in the right place. So are the hearts of directors Kate Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson, and even though Deadline comes across like a lackluster film school project that's desperately lacking in context and objectivity, those looking for fuel to throw on the fire will find plenty of kindling here.

The DVD adds a number of extras, including extra interviews, the full speech that Ryan gave in his closing days in office, and an interview with the two directors.



Deadline

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th January 2010

Distributed by: Freestyle Releasing

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 4.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Kirsten Johnson

Starring: as Ed Hutcheson, as Margaret Garrison, as Nora Hutcheson, as Frank Allen, Warren Stevens as George Burrows, as Harry Thompson, Martin Gabel as Tomas Rienzi, Joe De Santis as Herman Schmidt, Joyce Mackenzie as Katherine Garrison Geary, as Mrs. Willebrandt, Fay Baker as Alice Garrison Courtney, as Jim Cleary

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.