Bitsey Bloom, Kate Winslet, top reporter for the New York-based magazine, News, has just served seven days behind bars for refusing to reveal her sources for a story on child pornography. Her new assignment is to interview David Gale, Kevin Spacey, Rhodes Scholar, published author, son of a former Ambassador, former head of philosophy at the University of Austin, Texas, and a prominent member of Deathwatch, a non-profit, anti-death penalty group. Gale is on Death Row having been convicted of the rape and murder of Constance Harvey, Laura Linney, the local leader of Deathwatch. With only a matter of days before Gale is to be executed, the skeptical Bitsey begins her interviews with the condemned man, and his story is told in flashbacks. Back in the 1950s, Stanley Kramer used to specialise in crusading, small 'l' liberal, films which tackled hot topics like racism and the nuclear threat, and Alan Parker's film is very much in the same tradition. It's a film which crusades against capital punishment, and if you support that crusade you'll give credit to the British director for his attitude. But, sadly, Charles Randolph's screenplay is terribly contrived and at times confusing; he tries to turn the political argument into a race-against-time thriller, with a distinct lack of success, and as each new plot twist occurs the film becomes less and less convincing. There's not much accomplished actors like Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet can do with this dubious material, though Laura Linney, as the murder victim, brings dignity to her character. One of the major flaws in a film filled with them is the unsubtle music score, composed by the director's sons, Alex and Jake Parker.