The notion that this film is some kind of serious meditation on capital punishment is hard to understand. The repeated flashbacks to the murder scene are not only gratuitous (how many times do we need to see a murder/rape to get the message?), they border on a macabre preoccupation with violence and death. The moody rhythm of the film, and the "crescendo" execution scene (another lingering scene that suggests fascination with death), are manipulative and ham-fisted. Give us a sharp, tragic look - like "I Want to Live" - at the death penalty; or a thoughtful meditation on murder and the murderer - there's a gap Hollywood has never filled. Don't give us Wagner.