Killer: A Journal of Murder (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Killer: A Journal of Murder1996

Killer: A Journal of Murder (1996)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

With unnerving realism, this fact-based prison drama tells the story of an idealistic young guard who attempts to reach out and somehow help a death-row inmate, a vicious serial killer, considered by some historians as America's first, find peace and redemption. It isn't easy, as brutal, remorseless killer Carl Panzram is considered irredeemable. Still, highly-principled guard Henry Lesser, a devout believer in prison reform, is determined to try. The story is set in 1929 at Leavenworth Prison. Henry is new to the job and it doesn't take him long to discover that his fellow guards are nearly as corrupt and violent as the inmates. After getting to know Carl a bit, Henry is fascinated by the killer's total absence of conscience. Carl does have one request of Henry: he wants paper and a pen so he can write his memoirs. Carl, who kills even in jail, blames society for his condition and demands that society do its duty and execute him, but to Henry, the death penalty is odious and unjust so he begins searching for ways to save Carl from the fate he seems to desire so strongly.

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James Woods
as Carl Panzram
Robert Sean Leonard
as Henry Lesser
Ellen Greene
as Elizabeth Weaks
Cara Buono
as Esther Lesser
John Bedford Lloyd
as Karl Menninger
Robert John Burke
as R.G. Grieser
Steve Forrest
as Warden Charles
Jeffrey DeMunn
as Sam Lesser
Christopher Petrosino
as Richard Lesser
Richard Riehle
as Warden Quince
Harold Gould
as Old Henry Lesser
Conrad McLaren
as Judge Kingman
Michael Jeffery Woods
as Harry Sinclair
Eddie Cairis
as Young Carl Panzram
Seth Romitelli
as Teenaged Carl Panzram
John McKay
as Jack Turner
James Murtaugh
as Walter Bailey
Richard Spore
as Jury Foreman
Stephen Mendillo
as Hiram the Guard
Martha A. Woods
as Lady Bartender
Reathel Bean
as uncredited
Samuel Resnikoff
as uncredited
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Critic Reviews for Killer: A Journal of Murder

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

Metcalfe's casting of James Woods as the killer is a good choice, and Woods gives a powerful, searing performance. He does not compromise Panzram, or soften him. But the movie does, by withholding information.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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