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Rated PG-13 · 107 minutes · 2011
The title of this Werner Herzog documentary may suggest another expedition to the ends of the earth, but what concerns him here is the moral abyss of capital punishment and the metaphysical abyss of death itself. Herzog shot interviews with five death-row inmates (some of which will be included in a forthcoming TV documentary), but for this feature he focuses on young Michael Perry, who died by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas, in July 2010 for his role in a gruesome and pointless triple murder. Speaking to Herzog eight days before his execution, Perry comes off as a remorseless, self-pitying jackass, brandishing the usual claims of innocence and Christian salvation; his sorry performance, and Herzog's wrenching interviews with the victims' relatives, may not turn anyone against capital punishment, but they're gripping nonetheless. Incidentally, the spiritual inquiry Herzog aims for here has already been rendered onscreen, in Steve James and Peter Gilbert's powerful documentary At the Death House Door (2008).
Director: Werner Herzog

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