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Australia 1992
Directed by
Lewis Fitz-Gerald
60 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Last Man Hanged, The

Writer/director of The Last Man Hanged, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, who also plays the journalist Keith Willey, will be known to most Australians from Breaker Morant (1980) and a string of feature films during the 1980s although most of his work has been in television.

This docu-drama about Ronald Ryan, a petty criminal who was convicted of killing a warder in a prison break in 1966 and so became the last man to be hanged in Victoria, is a commendable effort in the Errol Morris style of case-making. At times is it is unclear who are real witnesses to the events (such as Ryan’s wife, the judge who presided over his case and so on) and who are actors playing them in the recreations and this is a tad disorienting but overall it works in evoking empathy for Ryan, whose looks certainly worked against him, and as a condemnation of capital punishment.

DVD Extras: An Act Of Vengeance, a 20m featurette on the Ryan case capital punishment; Stills Gallery.  Available as part of Umbrella Entertainment’s True Aussie Crime Collection.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment

 

 

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