Executioner. Murderer. Killing. Doing his job. The swirl of inner-conflict and the fog of moral dilemma must’ve accompanied Thailand’s “last executioner”, the man whose professional duty was to pull the trigger and dispatch death row convicts. Between 1984 and 2002, Chavoret Jaruboon executed 55 prisoners by gun, before the Thai law changed the execution method to lethal injection.
You won’t see all the 55 deaths in Petchakart (The Last Executioner), a Thai film that opens today, but you’ll see enough to understand the unlikely twist of fate that prompted a young rock ‘n’ roll singer in the 1960s to become a prison guard, then an appointed trigger-puller at Bang Kwang Prison. Directed by Irish-Thai filmmaker Tom Waller and starring Vithaya Pansringarm, the biopic is a thoughtful study of a troubled soul whose livelihood relied on his license to kill.
The Last Executioner opens in Thailand after its premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival last month, where Vithaya was awarded best actor from a jury led by Chinese actress Gong Li.
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