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Film Review - Killer: A Journal of Murder
Probably for as long as there's been a justice system, people have talked about certain others as being born criminals, others are "bad eggs." Some people have always blamed society for creating these bad eggs. Killer: A Journal of Murder explores that side of the coin. James Woods plays Carl Panzram, a lifelong criminal.
Panzram had a rough childhood and eventually decided to hand back to society everything it was handing to him. He wasn't afraid to go to prison, nor was he afraid to be beaten by the guards. Panzram saw very little value to life, including his own.
Robert Sean Leonard plays Henry Lesser, a Communist Jew who becomes a prison guard. Henry really isn't cut out for this. He is repulsed by violence and thinks he can reason with everyone. He can't. Henry befriends Carl and helps the prisoner write his story.
Carl's story is about a lifelong crime spree of theft and murder. Henry is shocked by what he reads, and wants to publish the book, but Carl knows it's nothing less than a confession he doesn't want to give.
Eventually, Carl kills a guard, and is tried. Carl decides he's had enough of this life and is his own lawyer, demanding to be found guilty.
Killer is the story of these two men, and their differing viewpoints. Henry is very idealistic and can always see hope. Carl is cynical and has no hope. Their views oppose each other's, but there is a real respect between these men.
Killer can be grim, and at times hard to watch, but it isn't trying to paint a pretty picture. It's worth the effort on a day where you would like something to think about.