When a colleague dies in a car crash, Steve Everett (Eastwood) of the Oakland Tribune inherits a human interest story on the upcoming final few hours of Frank Beechum (Washington), a convicted killer on Death Row. Trouble is, Steve's an investigative reporter by trade, tradition and temperament and, when he begins researching the case, starts to suspect the remorseless Beechum may be innocent. Moreover, his life is such a mess that he hardly has time to meet Beechum for a last exclusive interview, let alone to search for clues and win a stay of execution. Though the closing quarter of an hour is inevitably flawed by the kind of contrivance parodied in The Player and repeated in numerous race-against-time stories, for the most part this is another typically intelligent Eastwood film, a thriller that's unusually and movingly perceptive about human emotions. Though a couple of plot developments are clumsily scripted, as a character study it's performed, written and directed with wit, sensitivity and insight, ranging from the engagingly non-PC comic exchanges between Everett and his boss (Woods) to the affecting scenes between Beechum and his family.