The Executioner's Song

Director: Lawrence Schiller
Year Released: 1982
Rating: 3.0

Made-for-TV version of Norman Mailer's book on the life of murderer Gary Gilmore (Tommy Lee Jones) - but with gratuitous footage of Rosanna Arquette naked for foreign release - keeps the core parts of the story together but loses a lot of the more nuanced examinations and ruminations by the great Mailer in written form. What really makes this stand out is the performance by Jones (which deservedly won him an Emmy) and how he plays Gilmore as this feisty but ultimately pathetic loner who can't seem to catch a break, lacks respect from others and just wants love (despite loving the wrong woman) and how his repressed rage culminates in two senseless deaths and himself ultimately begging to be killed by firing squad. It's a tragic case about a very mixed up soul, but those seeking more in-depth analysis would do no worse than reading the actual book.