Schiller and Norman Mailer's docu-drama - about double-killer Gary Gilmore, who demanded to be executed - exists in a curiously harsh netherworld beyond traditional genre, skirting the realm of the clinical dossier. Sensation (crimes and punishment: two murders and a firing squad) and incongruity (Gilmore as media event) produce a troubled, quizzical analysis of background and context, but seem as displaced from being the movie's elusive subject as does Gilmore himself. Jones (playing Gilmore) goes his own fascinating route to the loser's nirvana without recourse to psycho-style tics, while strong character performances from Arquette and Lahti constantly shift the focus back towards the everyday straitjacket of Utah underdogs. In all, easier to recommend than to define. This is an edited version of the 2-part TV movie, running 200 minutes.
Cast and crew
Tommy Lee Jones Christine Lahti Rosanna Arquette Steven Keats Jordan Clarke Richard Venture Eli Wallach