This movie explores the ripple effect of negative emotions that impact all who are connected to the execution of a convicted murderer. Warden Bernadine Williams, played by Alfre Woodard, treats her job as best conducted "by the book", despite several situations that hint that some flexibility might be more appropriate. As a result, the inner turmoil experienced by the Warden is heightened and affects her marital relationship. Other examples of the destructive psychological impact of capital punishment are seen within the Prison Chaplain (Michael O'Neill), Defence Attorney (Richard Schiff) and the Warden's husband (Wendell Pierce) who all opt for retirement from their jobs.
Where "Clemency" is different from many other anti capital punishment movies is the demonstration of this psychological impact on the participants, and why it succeeds so well is rooted in the excellent performances by the main cast. The lighting is suitably sombre in most scenes, and the pacing is slow - probably to emphasise the nature of time experienced by the prisoners and staff alike. As the clock ticks down towards the final scene, there are some dramatic and interesting sub-plots that fill out the character's back stories for us without appearing too connived.
This movie is well worth the time invested in viewing and I score it 7/10.
As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill ... IMDb