Werner Herzog returns to the South American jungle with Juliane Koepcke, the German woman who was the sole survivor of a plane crash there in 1971. They find the remains of the plane and recreate her journey out of the jungle.
Juan Zaplana Ramirez
I enjoy Mr. Herzog's body of work, and never expected to hear his fascinating voice on ID Channel, but "On Death Row" is being aired there, and I caught two episodes this morning, and all I can say is how edifying they were. Unfortunately, Herzog accomplished the exact opposite of his intention. He's an honest man, and he admits up front he's opposed to capital punishment. Good for him. Unlike a lot of anti-death penalty fanatics, he doesn't descend to calling the people who have the unenviable job of carrying out executions "depraved", worse than serial killers, doing it "for the money", and all sorts of such silly tripe. He doesn't make ridiculous assertions like "waiting 17 years to be executed" is reparation enough for taking another's life forever. He lets the murderers speak in their own words, offers no obvious judgments, and attempts to be impartial, not always successfully. But he tries. He offers no excuses for the evil in these people. When Darlie Routier, who hacked her 5 and 6 year old sons to death, whines about how she hasn't been able to hug her sons in 16 years, the obvious answer to her complaint needs no explanation. And Herzog respects us enough not to supply one. When a man who beat his 13 month (!) old daughter to death with a hammer, breaking 18 ribs, and causing multiple skull fractures (not to mention biting her in over 20 places on her little body, hard enough to leave tooth impressions), is asked why he did it, his reply is ,"Why? I don't know why it happened". Herzog doesn't need to continue with, "It happened? Like it happened that she died in her sleep or something?" I've been in favor of the death penalty in extreme cases, and only when proof of guilt is undeniable. And Mr. Herzog's series has strengthened me in that belief.
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