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After 23 years on Death Row a convicted murderer petitions the court asking to be executed, but as his story unfolds, it becomes clear that nothing is what it seems.

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The Fear of 13 movie full length review - Quietly haunting, downtroddenly reflective documentary

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

In 2002, Nick Yarris, a death row prisoner since 1985, wrote to the authorities, eager to move his execution date forward, not relishing the prospect of going through another appeal, before some startling new evidence came to light and quashed his conviction after many years. Speaking directly to the camera, he narrates the tale of the build up to his arrest, the circumstances surrounding his life at the time, his experiences in prison and some traumatic events from his past that further shaped his mind.

There can't be much more interesting sights to witness than that of a man with nothing to lose. A man who can reveal his innermost desires, thoughts and feelings without any sense of trepidation, given he's already building up to the final moment when it will all be gone. From our first moment with him, Nick Yarris strikes us as a guy with words just flying off the tip of his tongue, but with a surprising degree of eloquence and articulation (having taken up reading old books during his lonely hours on death row) in how he conveys them. And, in a short time frame, director David Sington draws out plenty of backstory from him.

Yarris was hardly a model citizen before his incarceration, and if you consider we don't even learn of his innocence until the end, it's even harder to illicit sympathy with someone who still describes a life with little respect for the law and individual liberty. But nonetheless, he still spins quite a gripping yarn, and Sington further enhances the experience with the use of the camera, slowly hovering over seemingly mundane objects, and capturing the eerie silence of the empty prison with great clarity.

It takes a deeply unappealing individual, and somehow manages to illuminate him as a human being, and enthral you in his woes and wherefores. A stirring and emotional tale that shines light from the darkest place. ****