There is no doubt that Alfre Woodard is the star of "Clemency" as the warden, Bernadine Williams, who oversees the execution of prisoners but Aldis Hodge as Anthony Woods is a prisoner convicted of killing a police officer and serving 15 years is going to be executed that gives her some stiff competition, especially in their scenes together.
Capital punishment is looked at from all angles starting with an execution going wrong and reflected in the face of Woodard. We hear from the mother of the dead policeman, Vernee Watson, and the crowds outside protesting the execution. We meet Williams's husband, played by Wendell Pierce, and we are shown how his wife's job is affecting their marriage, not to forget Danielle Brooks as Evette, Woods's high school girlfriend at the time he was arrested, distancing herself from him for the 15 years. Another point of view comes from Richard Schiff as a lawyer who believes Woods is innocent and the religious point of view, as the prison's chaplain, is expressed by Michael O'Neill.
From the opening shot of Alfre Woodard supervising the execution that goes wrong to another shot focused on her face as she walks through the halls of the prison the actress, this is not an easy picture to watch. Chinoye Chukwu wrote the screenplay and directed the movie with a hard to see opening segment that draws you into the movie but at the same time using Woodward's face to show what this woman goes through every time someone is executed!
Alfre Woodard will hopefully be remembered at the end of the year when award season starts and we should be seeing more of Aldis Hodge as a leading man.