Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
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  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    British actor Timothy Spall gives a shattering performance as Albert Pierrepoint.
  2. 88
    The key to the film is in the performances by Spall and Stevenson -- and by Marsan. The utter averageness of the characters, their lack of insight, their normality, contrasts with the subject matter in an unsettling way.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    At once desperately grim and unnervingly gripping, providing an exacting sense of the detail and procedure that went into death by hanging.
  4. This measured bio-production might be viewed as a lesser companion piece to "Vera Drake" -- although in the case of Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, all the period-piece tastefulness makes for a story more instructive than emotionally tangible.
  5. This is a riveting story about a man who for years moonlighted as an anonymous hangman while holding a day job as a wholesale grocery delivery man.
  6. Reviewed by: Kamal AL-Solaylee
    Invites viewers to think critically about such weighty concepts as justice, atonement and personal accountability.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Like its hero, the movie doesn't flinch for most of its running time.
  8. 70
    Like most television directors, Shergold is good with actors. Jowly, impassive and rigid with righteous dignity, Timothy Spall makes a wonderfully meticulous Pierrepoint.
  9. Pierrepoint is worth seeing for Shergold's attention to process and for all the ghoulish details.
  10. In Pierrepoint:The Last Hangman Timothy Spall sinks his teeth into one of the juiciest roles of his career.
  11. 70
    This 2005 feature has a drab "Masterpiece Theatre" feel, though Pierrepoint is a fascinating study in ethics: he takes pride in his work, wants his victims to die swiftly and painlessly, and considers hanging an absolution.
  12. Dramatizes and occasionally overdramatizes Albert's 24-year career. For a while, it's a study of a decent man who puts his life into compartments so he can do terrible deeds.
  13. 50
    Pierrepoint is handsomely crafted and well-acted, but its sense of scale is as constricted as a noose.
  14. 50
    You have to wonder just how true to life the melodramatic depiction of these events is, especially since the film was made in partnership with TV's "Masterpiece Theater."
  15. A peculiar little film -- grim and disturbing yet perversely riveting.
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  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. JimG
    Jun 23, 2007
    Disappointing primarily because Spall has always been so dependable. Unfortunately, the role he is given here is johnny one-note: the weight Disappointing primarily because Spall has always been so dependable. Unfortunately, the role he is given here is johnny one-note: the weight of pierrepoint's conscience is there at the beginning at the end with no real dramatic build. The same can be same for the cinematography. No contrast is offered emotionally or visually. Full Review »