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Very strong documentary about Illinois Governor George Ryan, who was faced with the decision of whether to commute all of the sentences of capital punishment in his state to sentences of life in prison. I'm a liberal Democrat who actually supported the death penalty, and Deadline is a rare film that challenged my views and made me rethink my opinion, and, in only 90 minutes, almost entirely changed my mind. Not that I haven't heard most of the arguments in the film before, but the film presented it in a way that made me consider the issue on a deeper level. It hasn't convinced me 100% that the death penalty should be abolished, but I do see how arbitrary the practice can be, and how poorly our system works at times. In that way, I am almost at the point where I think that the system perhaps should be abolished completely, because there is no way to perfect it. There will always be flaws. It's hardly a perfect film, and, at 90 minutes, it isn't nearly long enough to explore all the issues. But it is amazing how much it does in an hour and a half. One of the best movies of 2004 so far. 9/10.
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