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Clemency

Clemency

Clemency

  • Directed by Chinonye Chukwu
  • Starring Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Pierce
  • USA | 112mins | 2019 | rated (15)

Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins


Film run time: 1hr 52m


From writer-director Chinonye Chukwu, Alfre Woodard stars as Bernadine Williams, a prison warden increasingly troubled by her role in America’s execution system.
Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on Bernadine. As she prepares to execute inmate Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge), Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
The moral and ethical debates around the death penalty rarely touch on the toll it takes on the people involved, but that’s the grey area Chukwu explores with a humanist’s touch and a keen ear for all her characters. It’s anchored by Woodard’s minimalist, magnetic performance as the jaded Williams, numbed by her work, floundering in her marriage to her frustrated teacher husband (Wendell Pierce), and heading to the bar after work with increasing frequency, hoping to treat her PTSD-fuelled insomnia with alcohol. It takes an actor of Woodard's calibre to show us how Bernadine arrived at this point, and why she finds herself so conflicted. A masterwork.

Warning - no babies can be taken into 15 Certificate films