The most impressive aspect of the film is its comprehensive analysis of the death penalty issue.
While Penn is subjected to the anguish of waiting for the guards to escort him to the death chamber, the audience too feels each brutal moment slowly tick by.
Worst of all, Poncelot is reduced to a scared child, and no matter how terrible the murders were, I don't believe there was anyone in the audience who could, without any twinge of conscience, think that he deserved to die.
Robbins's view is finally summed up in Poncelot's last words, "I don't think killing is right, whether I do it, or you, or the government." Be prepared to re-evaluate your particular view on the death penalty.
You will walk away from the movie theater with a sense of the tragedy of any murder, whether it is committed by a person or by the government.