Picks and Pans Review: Last Light

updated 08/23/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/23/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Showtime (Sun., Aug. 22, 9 p.m. ET)

B +

Forest Whitaker gets to reverse his role from The Crying Game in this unsparing drama: Here he plays a guard who forms an unlikely bond with his soon-to-die prisoner. Kiefer Sutherland directed and plays the death-row inmate. For Whitaker, it's a busy week on cable. He also directed Strapped for HBO (Sat., Aug. 21, 8 p.m. ET), a wrenching hip-hop parable about inner-city youth and the bane of firearms.

Last Light, parts of which were filmed at California's Soledad Prison, is disturbing for its language, violence (particularly Sutherland's execution) and sex (there is a less-than-explicit but grim depiction of masturbation). Yet the movie is powerfully acted, particularly by Sutherland as a canny, vicious societal throwaway.

Clancy Brown, Lynne Moody, Kathleen Quinlan and Amanda Plummer costar.

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