‘The Long Drop' is a period drama set in 1962, at at time when convicted prisoners could still face capital punishment. On a cold December day, our two characters, Christopher and Daniel, await execution. Throughout the film, we explore the contrasting natures of the two men and ask: ‘Is morality ever black and white?’ Held in adjoining cells, both characters look back on their lives and crimes over a final meal. As Christopher laments, we learn that he has come from an impoverished background. Facing a challenging start, he fell into a life of crime, a life he now reflects on with guilt and remorse. Next door, sits Daniel, who mocks his fellow inmate and instead boasts about his criminal exploits. His only regret - ‘Getting Caught’. As dawn breaks the following morning, a catharsis and grim acceptance has settled over Christopher. The same can not be said of Daniel, whose bravado has disappeared as he is dragged to the gallows. Although ‘The Long Drop’ is set in a past era, it takes the ever-present social construct of morality and examines all its encompassing parts to help the audience derive a new perspective.
The Crucifixion of Jesus is told in two passages of the bible; whereas in the Gospel of Mark it highlights the ‘dual focus of christ’s life: service and sacrifice’, 'The Long Drop' expands on this theme by focusing on the dual nature of the two criminals executed alongside him, described as ‘malefactors’ [Luke 23:32]. Symbolically positioned on the left and right of Jesus, the Penitent Thief and the Impenitent Thief explore the duplexity of people when faced with their own death; like two sides to the same coin, these men are charged with the same crime yet one is repentant for his actions and the other remorseless, mocking Jesus along with the crowd. In this film, the closed context of a prison cell forces us to intimately confront the conflicting natures of both men, whilst the Christmas period, a time for family and celebration, highlights the characters isolation and sadness.The finality of death adds an urgency to their conversation and yields a deeper, more emotional characterisation to their biblical derivations.
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