American Hangman is a modern look at the justice system through the eyes of social media as a kidnapped judge is put on trial for a botched case he presided over. The social media driven plot allows the audience to act as jury while the pieces of the puzzle are put together, revealed through clues offered by the story. The story is not interactive, but its iterative nature allows for the viewing audience to following the clues to the film’s conclusion.
American Hangman features strong performances from Donald Sutherland and Vincent Kartheiser while the story, written by director Coneybeare, uses fear and tension to build the case while observers, including the police, watch in horror as they become a jury.
Vincent Kartheiser does an excellent job as the antagonist, creating a menacing take on a traditional character. Donald Sutherland’s performance is one of mock disdain as he is prosecuted with his own system using modern methods. The film uses the theme of anonymity, much in the same way a trial would be conducted in a real courtroom, to make the public the judge and jury.
The film’s tension is maintained through the expert eyes of cinematographer Mark Irwin (RoboCop2, Old School, There’s Something About Mary, Scream) and editor Michael Pierro, whose work includes reality TV series, Rebel Without a Kitchen and Extreme Babysitting. Those experiences really lend themselves to the type of story that Wilson Coneybeare was looking to tell. Coneybeare worked overtime to keep the clues coming at a rapid enough pace that we are never lost in the details.
Here is a clip from American Hangman.
You can read our review here.
Following a limited theatrical run, Wilson Coneybeare’s American Hangman is now available for purchase or rental on premium video on demand services, including Amazon. Have you seen the film? We’d love to hear your thoughts on it.