The Last Confession Of Alexander Pearce

  • Year:2008
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Michael James Rowland
  • Cast:Adrian Dunbar, Bob Franklin, Ciaran McMenamin
  • Release Date:February 05, 2009
  • Distributor:Hopscotch
  • The Film:3.5

Michael James Rowland makes a significant departure from his directorial debut Lucky Miles with a...

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Michael James Rowland makes a significant departure from his directorial debut Lucky Miles with a macabre period tale of convicts and extreme hardship in the Tasmanian wilderness. Based on the grisly real-life tale that inspired the recent horror flick Dying Breed, this doco-with-re-enactments tells of Alexander Pearce (Ciaran McMenamin), sentenced for stealing six pairs of shoes and eventually imprisoned on Sarah Island in Tasmania. He soon attempts an escape, joining a group of eight men on a marathon slog through the mountains. Their food soon runs out, and after some dodgy persuasion by the unscrupulous Robert Greenhill (Dan Wyllie), the men resort to cannibalising the weaker members of the group in order to survive.

Despite this documentary's obvious budgetary constraints, the beautifully shot sequences in the Tasmanian highlands imbue the proceedings with a thoroughly grim and desperate atmosphere. Though the cast (Chris Haywood, Bob Franklin) is strong, the film could've done without a few unfortunate sequences of awkward exposition, which see the filmmakers wrestling with a feature narrative within a documentary guise. Nevertheless, the quiet fury and manifest brutality of the story is so compelling, and the cinematic beauty of the Tasmanian environment so haunting, that it makes for a very gripping ride.

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