Review: Clemency

You're in prison too.

Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) has overseen 12 executions as warden of a prison. The film opens with a botched attempt at lethal injection that only adds onto the weight Bernadine carries. Now another execution is on the horizon. One for a man named Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge) who swears he didn't commit the crime he is going to be killed for. Bernadine's world crumbles around her as she waits for his execution date, and the possibility of the governor granting him clemency.

Calling this bleak is an understatement. Unlike another death row film out in theaters right now - Just Mercy - there is no reprieve. It's a devastating watch.

It's interesting to see a film like this from the Warden's point of view. Bernadine is very by the books. She doesn't make exceptions but she's still a human being with feelings and right now those feelings (and lack of) are ruining her marriage and making her question the work she does. Woodard carries this burden convincingly. She practically drags herself emotionally from scene to scene. Then there's Hodge. When he gets the news of his execution date he doesn't scream or fight, but stares off in shock while tears stream down his face. It was such a powerful reaction and seeing him go back and forth between desperation and hope was extraordinary. Danielle Brooks also has a small but important scene which reminds me once again that it's criminal she has zero Emmys for her work on Orange is the New Black. It's criminal that no one in this film is getting Oscar nominations, to be honest.

If there's one thing that drags Clemency down, it's the ending. I knew before it happened that it was going to end that way, you could see it coming, but I wish they would've done a bit more with it. Even an additional 5 minutes would've helped.

And as an aside, I have to complain about this crazy bitch (I don't like to use that term, but I feel it applies here) who was LAUGHING when the medical person couldn't find a working vein and had to keep trying during the first execution we see. This isn't a comedy. Why are people so terrible?

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "They'll love you long after everything has happened" - Chaplain Kendricks (Michael O'Neill) - ((also this is paraphrased a bit because I was crying to hard to remember the actual quote verbatim. I suck at blogging))


  1. Jesus Christ that sounds so heavy, also that bitch sounds cray indeed

    1. I'm still just perplexed. i can't think about this movie without thinking about that

  2. Glad you liked it. I was really blown away by Woodard's performance. Easily one of my favorite of the year and absolutely worth an Oscar nomination. As for the moron laughing at the execution scene. I clearly looked at this film much differently than she did!!!

    1. As did everyone else I'm sure. It's not comedy ffs.

  3. I hope to see this soon hopefully on TV or on Netflix.

    1. It barely got a theater release here so I imagine it's on its way to DVD.

  4. I love Alfre Woodard and would like to see this film even though it is a tough one to watch. Some people may laugh because, well, she might be a total ditz thinking it's funny which means she has the IQ of a carrot. There are others who, instead of crying, they laugh because they don't want to cry or they will lose it. 10 to 1 she has the brain of a carrot. Oh, I saw Joker over the's a good movie but not a fun one to watch but I felt like the director wanted us to know how important this was. Joaquin is good but I can't help but think he didn't have to act too much to portray creepy. Heath is still, by far, much better than him. I felt nothing for the film overall. I may have felt somewhat bad for the character at the beginning but, in the end, I felt nothing for him and think he is just a thug. I couldn't care less if he was abused. This doesn't give him any right to become a homicidal maniac. This irritates me to no end because there are many people who have endured abuse, pretty horrific, and they don't become homicidal. It left me cold. Taron Eggerton was robbed of an Oscar Nomination because he outacted Phoenix. I believed taron became Elton John and was watching the character whereas, with Phoenix, I am watching a good actor in a role that he can relate too closely to...the creepy guy not the homicidal guy.

    1. It didn't even sound like nervous laughter, and if she had laughed just once, I would've chalked it up to an involuntary reaction which happens, but it was more than once. Just weird.

      Ugh, I hated Joker and Todd Phillips is a shit director who thought his movie was so important, but that his audience was too dumb to understand it.

      Be nice to the mentally abused, kids. They may kill you otherwise.

      Fuck that movie lol

  5. Holy shit, this one sounds devastating. I'm in for it, but I don't think it's going to come around here. Hell, this is actually the first I'm even hearing of it.

    F--king people can be so shitty at the movies. Stay home and be an asshole, folks. No one will mind.


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