Greetings again from the darkness. Surely they complain about their work. Most of all do. But what if your career had led to you overseeing a dozen court-mandated executions and the next one was already planned? In her first feature film, screenwriter and director Chinonye Chukwu takes us into the world of guard Bernadine Williams, who runs a highly secure cage, including those judgement to passed away. It is the rare film in this subgenre that does not preach an anti-passed away penalty policy, but focuses on the emotional toll it takes on those who must carry out the judgement.
Director Williams (Alfre Woodard) is an experienced cage professional who keeps his feelings under control while respecting policies and procedures. He is a reserved, often stoic person – both at work and at home. At the beginning of the film, a lethal injection goes wrong, and the director finds this inexcusable. She wants answers and she is preparing to make sure the next scheduled goes for inmate Anthony Woods goes well. Aldis Hodge plays Mr. Woods, who has been judgement to passed away for 15 years. His execution date is approaching with great strides, despite his cries of innocence and the evidence that he is not the one who finished the COP. Woods ‘ lawyer (Richard Schiff) informed him that his last hope is a Clemency from the governor.
Bernadine’s job is to deal with family members, opposite, lawyers, media, guards, medical staff, procedures, final and statements, and even the search for veins. Stress obviously takes a toll, and even his family life is a wreck. Her husband Jonathan (Wendell Pierce) is frustrated with his distancing. He is a high school teacher and reads a passage from the “invisible man” to his class – words that hit home for him. Bernadine also has to face the priest of the cage (Michael O’Neill), and the two share a powerful moment that increases the pressure on both. Bernadine speaks matter-of-fact to Mr. Woods as she describes the procedure of her execution. In another powerful moment, Mr. Woods tries to exert his final control over his life and passed away. It’s brutal to watch.
Even though the passed away penalty applies to judgment Anthony Woods, most of the other participants express a certain desire to withdraw or leave. This clearly speaks of the burden associated with the passed away of another person. At a meeting with his former partner Evette (Danielle Brooks), Woods hopes for a legacy outside of crime, while Evette tells him what she needs. This life is not a fairy tale, and hard edges and hard times are at every turn.
For a long time, Mrs. Woodard was an underestimated actress. Her only Oscar nomination took place in 1983, and she was exceptional in most roles since the TV series “St Elsewhere” in the 1980s. She manages to convey humanity and realism in most of the characters she plays. Mr Hodge starred in the title role of BRIAN BANKS earlier this year, and in both roles, he possesses a strength of character that enables audiences. In Mrs. chukwu’s film, both are somehow isolated and have difficulty coping with it.
Although the film spends very little time on the question of guilt or innocence, or whether the passed away penalty is a law of morality that fits into society, the approach of examining the psychological effects of those involved proves worthy of discussion. We would like that the script did not deliver such characters stood those with whom it is so difficult to connect. But perhaps it is the inevitability of the environment-this cuts much deeper than the celebration of preparation for the next execution to follow.