EW Staff
February 07, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Set in Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1929, this true story of a wryly literate monster (Woods) befriended by an idealistic Jewish prison guard (Leonard) who helps him publish his memoirs, feels more like a magazine article than a movie. Killer, which played a few theaters last year, adds a minor historical curio to the literature of incarcerated killers determined to die — and mounts an obvious case for penal reform. Woods’ disarmingly likable incarnation of unrepentant evil overpowers first-time director Tim Metcalfe’s timid script; Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol) has an uncredited cameo as a barfly.

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