The 50 best films of 2020 in the UK, No 3: Clemency

Alfre Woodard is superlative in a lacerating drama that renders the saintly self-regard of many death-row films null and voidFollow our countdown of the 50 best films of 2020In any year, there are films that mysteriously don’t seem to click with the awards establishment and don’t get the glittering prizes they deserve, which are showered on far less deserving contenders.

Writer-director Chinonye Chukwu’s lacerating death-row drama Clemency only arrived in the UK this summer, despite surfacing at the Sundance film festival in January 2019.

It should have got Oscars, but didn’t, a distinction it shares with many brilliant films.

Alfre Woodard gives a magnificent performance as Bernadine Williams, a US prison warden who has presided with icy professionalism over a great many executions.

But when one of the lethal injections goes terribly wrong, the needle snapping and the prisoner dying in agony, it brings Bernadine to the point of an emotional breakdown.

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