The effect is intended to be ghastly – which it certainly is – but I was equally repelled by this film’s conceit. Oppenheimer allows murderous thugs free rein to preen their atrocities, and then fobs it all off as some kind of exalted art thing. This is more than an aesthetic crime; it’s a moral crime.
Universal acclaim- based on 85 Ratings
Sep 11, 2013Going into The Act of Killing I expected to be shocked and appalled and I was but not for the reasons I imagined. A fearless look at a groupGoing into The Act of Killing I expected to be shocked and appalled and I was but not for the reasons I imagined. A fearless look at a group of people alive today and their inner most thoughts about a dark time in Indonesian history. The kicker? These people are monsters and director Joshua Oppenheimer is unfortunately giving them a voice. The film follows Oppenheimer as he interviews a group of Indonesian death squad executioners responsible for the mass communist genocide that took place in 1965, a horrific period in Indonesian history carried out by these so called subjects. The film is crass and lacks any kind of remorse as it ridicules the children of those who died, shows the wonderful lives that these killers now have and glorifies an action that took over a million lives. The Act of Killing is a disgraceful picture designed to disturb as to inspire action. However Oppenheimer must know the futility of his struggle and the inevitability of his failure so his creation of this rubbish only serves to entertain his interviewees. Not only does the film give them a pulpit to shout out their propaganda but it also treats it all as alright, a necessary evil. The Act of Killing breaks the cardinal rule of documentary film making, it doesn't have anything in it worth telling the rest of the world, it doesn't have a purpose beyond mocking the dead.… Full Review »
Apr 8, 2014The opening sequence (which I won't spoil) begs the same question that the entire film does: Are you serious? Is this real? Apparently theThe opening sequence (which I won't spoil) begs the same question that the entire film does: Are you serious? Is this real? Apparently the answer is yes.
The film revolves around Indonesia; which despite being an enormous country is pretty much a mystery to most of us. The paramilitary gangsterism described is brutal. The specific individuals being focused on are essentially a group of thugs who try to make a movie about their own rise to power, while being followed around by the documentarians. Their apparent lack of insight into their own situation is mind-boggling, and yet they sometimes have a very informative perspective on the rest of the world.
Besides the disturbing nature of the politically motivated genocide that its subjects participate in, the surprising thing about this documentary is that it subverts Hollywood-driven expectations. These are the bad guys, and they not only admit but flaunt their own atrocities, but they essentially have one. Decades after rising to power they remain figures of influence, and there is nothing to suggest that any of them will ever be held accountable. Their own journey towards (perhaps?) understanding what they did as they make their propaganda film is the only justice they'll likely ever see. This documentary offers a surprisingly intimate picture into that journey.… Full Review »
Feb 17, 2014Great documentary. Shows the twisted state of morality in the mind of all the killers like never before in the cinema. The question how someGreat documentary. Shows the twisted state of morality in the mind of all the killers like never before in the cinema. The question how some human can do it has been answered by an intelligent concept.… Full Review »