Last Dance - *

Rather pitiful Hollywood paean against the death penalty that pales even outside the competition from last year’s Dead Man Walking. Sharon Stone plays death row inmate Cindy Liggett, convicted of murdering a couple while in a drug-induced haze some twelve years earlier. Rob Morrow is Rick Hayes, a rich-kid/lawyer new to the job. His brother (Peter Gallagher), an aide to the governor, hands him a clemency board job to keep him out of trouble. Of course, his first case to review is that of Liggett, and he finds that, though she is guilty, she has changed in the past twelve years (she took up drawing), and doesn’t deserve to die. Unfortunately, this film never makes any attempt to sway or convince the audience. Cindy Liggett is a reformed person simply because she is Sharon Stone. Stone does a decent job, but she can’t overcome the ever so blandly typical writing. Morrow never connects with the audience, and seems lost and confused in his role as the viewer’s conscience. Director Bruce Beresford does a surprisingly hamfisted job at handling the proceedings. As a result neither Rick Hayes, Cindy Liggett nor this film get any sort of sympathy or support from the audience.

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