- 1 hr 53 min
The movie Clemency, directed by Chinonye Chukwu, follows the story of a prison warden, Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard), who faces emotional and psychological turmoil while carrying out executions. The movie is a depiction of the personal and emotional toll that the death penalty takes on the people involved in the process. The movie takes place in a prison, where Bernadine is responsible for overseeing the execution of prisoners. Right from the beginning of the movie, it is clear that the job has taken a toll on Bernadine's mental health. She seems to be emotionally drained, taking solace in alcohol and avoiding interactions with her loved ones. Her husband (Wendell Pierce) tries to understand her situation, but Bernadine is unresponsive. One day, a new prisoner named Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge) arrives on death row. He has been sentenced to death for murder and has exhausted all of his legal options for an appeal. This is the first major execution Bernadine is going to carry out after years of overseeing dozens of executions. She is careful and follows protocol, but Anthony's demeanor is different from that of the other prisoners she had executed before. He is calm, composed, and maintains his innocence till the end. Bernadine is emotionally shaken by the whole experience and retreats even further into her shell. As the movie progresses, we see how Bernadine tries to come to terms with her emotional turmoil. She takes a conscious effort to reconnect with her husband, but even that doesn't seem to help. Her mind is distracted, constantly taken up by the memories of the executions she carried out. We see her struggle with sleepless nights and nightmares of what she has seen and done. In one particular scene, she is haunted by the memories of the last execution she carried out, which led to a botched procedure. The memories come back to her in flashes and leave her feeling lost, angry, and helpless. The movie also takes us through the journey of Anthony Woods, who is struggling to come to terms with his imminent death. He maintains his innocence till the very end and is unable to find solace in the final hours of his life. Aldis Hodge's portrayal of Anthony Woods is nuanced and believable, and the audience feels his pain and struggle. Clemency is a beautifully crafted movie that explores the emotional and psychological impact of the death penalty. The movie doesn't take a direct stance on the death penalty but showcases the varied perspectives of the people involved in the process. Through Bernadine's character, the movie highlights the toll this job takes on the mental health of those who carry it out. Through Anthony's character, the movie shows the impact of the death penalty on the person who is being executed, and their loved ones. The cinematography of the movie is stunning, with the use of up-close shots, framing, and lighting creating an immersive experience for the audience. The movie's editing is crisp, with slow and deliberate pacing that adds to the overall impact of the movie. In conclusion, Clemency is a thought-provoking movie that opens up a dialog about the human cost of the death penalty. It is an emotional journey that leaves the audience feeling introspective and thoughtful. With powerful performances by Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, and other members of the cast, the movie is a must-watch for anyone who is interested in exploring the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the death penalty.