Drafthouse Films | Release Date: July 19, 2013
8.3
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 95 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
83
Mixed:
5
Negative:
7
WATCH NOW
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
10
sdogarFeb 17, 2014
Great 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.
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
10
indiegalaxy10Jul 29, 2013
Terrific and mind bending experience,the experiences of this poor man and the banality of evil, that is the reason for make it a masterpiece and one of the best documentaries of all time
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
9
ahnehnoisApr 8, 2014
The 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
The 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.
Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
All this user's reviews
10
BigbrySep 8, 2013
This movie is a great documentary. Disturbing and surreal in equal measure. Watching these psychopaths brag about their atrocities makes me upset, But this movie is about a lot more than the genocide that occurred in 1965. It shows howThis movie is a great documentary. Disturbing and surreal in equal measure. Watching these psychopaths brag about their atrocities makes me upset, But this movie is about a lot more than the genocide that occurred in 1965. It shows how America has contributed to these murders through culture and financial aid. Exposed as well is the amount of corruption and political oppression around every turn in Indonesia.
To the person who gave a negative review: a documentary is supposed show the truth. I am surmising the best way for the filmmaker to have these murderers open up like this was to to make them believe that they were being celebrated in a way. Since this documentary gave you such a strong reaction proves that it is excellent. If you can't look at the truth you shouldn't watch a movie like this and give it a 2. I thought your observations were spot on but I guess you can't handle the truth as Jack Nicholson once said.
Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
All this user's reviews
7
LeZeeFeb 15, 2014
The documentary was told from the perspective of ex Indonesian gangster Anwar Congo. His atrocity during 1965 military ruling where he was only a selling black market movie tickets before becoming a notorious gangster. This movie follows whenThe documentary was told from the perspective of ex Indonesian gangster Anwar Congo. His atrocity during 1965 military ruling where he was only a selling black market movie tickets before becoming a notorious gangster. This movie follows when he and his ex partners begin to remember his past incidents.

I was uncomfortable throughout. I felt it was disturbing in many parts. Actually, they won't show any cruel stuffs in raw form than just an interview. Now and then they perform to explain us the real act and it becomes 'The Act of Killing'.

This movie largely received critical acclaim. But my stance is just opposite to it because I hated almost all the character from the movie for what they did. Still a good documentary about what most of us was unaware of the real story. Because of this movie we come to know the dark secrets.

These people tell their hidden secrets and feel what they did was an unforgivable sin. They came from lower class and they did it for good living. Suppose if they did not, someone would have done it. Many are backed off from the interview in the middle of the documentary, but Anwar Congo stayed till the end to give his side story.

The director should be appreciated for his effort. He took nearly a decade to make this film. It is obvious that in the end he was confused over how to wrap it, but somehow he managed to do so. The most favourite to win Oscar. I am not in favour of this movie to win because it was told from cruel people and their dirty works. If you hear the same story from the innocent victim's perspective that would melt you emotionally.
Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
4
csw12Jan 16, 2014
The Act of Killing has some of the most horrific things humans can do to each other but in the end what was the point? All these men are still walking free and no punishments have be taken against them. The movie just revisits the pastThe Act of Killing has some of the most horrific things humans can do to each other but in the end what was the point? All these men are still walking free and no punishments have be taken against them. The movie just revisits the past without dealing with the now. As a movie, its too long and has an ending that is unintentionally funny. Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
All this user's reviews
0
hoops2448Sep 11, 2013
Going 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. TheGoing 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. Expand
5 of 17 users found this helpful512
All this user's reviews
2
foxgroveJul 29, 2013
Ground breaking documentary technique vies with unpleasant content and despicable characters to produce a reaction in me that, whilst acknowledging the film makers skill, has me repulsed by the film itself. That these people, guilty of suchGround breaking documentary technique vies with unpleasant content and despicable characters to produce a reaction in me that, whilst acknowledging the film makers skill, has me repulsed by the film itself. That these people, guilty of such atrocious crimes, are still walking around freely, without conscience and living in relative opulence is absolutely abhorrent to me. I understand that the point of documentary film making is to uncover truths and depict life as it is. I also recognise that my strong reaction against the film (or at least the content) is precisely the point, but the casual re-enactments of the crimes seems wrong to me. One character actually states that he would like to be famous. Well, whether for the right or wrong reasons this film certainly gives him his time in the sun.

Disregard for life is also demonstrated with animals when the lead protagonist shows the crew around his stuffed collection proclaiming nonchalantly that he had personally killed the black Rhino, whilst dismissively pointing out that the species was near extinction.

Content aside, the print under review is the director's cut which at 159 minutes is excessively long and when not shocking has extremely boring interludes, with some edits appearing just chaotic. The last 20 minutes or so when Anwar Cong, one of the killers, shows remorse by crying and later gagging (as if to vomit) is just an insult to all his victims as well as being extremely distasteful.

I am aware of all the superlatives that the documentary has been receiving, both written and oral, and it must be said that the audience that I viewed the film with stayed in their seats well into the end credits and left very subdued, but I did approach the film reluctantly and with caution.

The use of John Barry's beautiful song 'Born Free' emphasises the ugliness of everything else going on, I don't dispute that it is powerful film making, but I also can't dispute that I hated it!
Expand
3 of 11 users found this helpful38
All this user's reviews
7
TVJerrySep 11, 2013
During the 60s death squads murdered more than a million Communists in the Indonesian purge. This doc spends time with several of the prominent killers. In conversation and chilling staged reenactments, they unapologetically recount theirDuring the 60s death squads murdered more than a million Communists in the Indonesian purge. This doc spends time with several of the prominent killers. In conversation and chilling staged reenactments, they unapologetically recount their methods. The pacing lags when there's too much talk, but the "acts" and the final scenes are dramatically powerful. (Subtitles) Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
10
franissavioJul 19, 2013
Have I sinned?
Why man we critics and non-critics enjoyed watching your re-created killings!!! You can feel from all the praises your killing movie received in all film festivals.
Our only question is When will you do the SEQUEL????
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
10
Christopher_G2May 31, 2015
“The Act of Killing” is one of those few documentaries that you can watch once (and most who see it will prefer to watch only once) and never, ever forget. It is the best, most powerful, and one of the most unique documentaries I’ve seen this“The Act of Killing” is one of those few documentaries that you can watch once (and most who see it will prefer to watch only once) and never, ever forget. It is the best, most powerful, and one of the most unique documentaries I’ve seen this decade, and maybe in the 21st century. To tell the under-reported story of the genocide of presumed communist communities in Indonesia of 1964 and 65 the filmmakers here did something brilliant, which probably produced more insight and history than any number of hours of interviews would have: they ask those who participated to reenact violent scenes of what happened during those purges. They, the former "gangsters" as many proudly refer to themselves, are very happy to oblige in sometimes darkly comedic, but more oven just plain grisly sequences. This is a tough watch, but equally fascinating as it is disturbing. Different people handle this situation differently, and for a few the emotion becomes overwhelming. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
10
metaldevJul 11, 2015
An important movie that transcends the medium.
The Act of Killing is a masterpiece that demands to be seen by anyone who has interest in understanding human nature, and we are privileged to be given Oppenheimer's insight into it through the film.
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
EpicLadySpongeApr 30, 2016
The Act of Killing shows how killing shouldn't be a threat and shows how 2013 can be a great year for everyone. Yay for the Act of Killing, yay for 2013!
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
10
o___0Aug 17, 2016
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The most staggering achievement of this documentary is that it manages to be about so many things - it is a documentary about the trustworthiness of documentaries, a film about the pervasive influence of film. It’s about America, seen through a dark mirror, and about Indonesia, seen through a dangerously honest lens, and cultural and political imperialism that forms the insidious link between the two. And it’s about killing.

A surprisingly self-aware documentary, it allows viewers to glimpse as the main character examines shots from the documentary, criticizing his own performance in front of the camera. And when we see the characters’ “film”, we realize that it is merely a simulation of the simulated world of Hollywood gangsters. So while we begin the film silently condemning the characters’ acts, we slowly realize that they were merely following a script of created by us, and we can’t help but feel a sense of complicity.

But the characters’ accounts also resonate in genuine ways. One of my favorite scenes is when Congo describes his bad dreams, and reminisces about how his mother told him to wash his feet to prevent them. This might have passed as an allusion to Lady Macbeth’s similar habit, used by Congo used to humanize himself, if Congo had more than an elementary school education. Instead, it hints that at the universal nature of guilt.

Because most of all, it’s a documentary about killing. The country’s political situation acts as a kind of natural experiment on the moral nature of the act. What would happen if killing was viewed by society as not only morally acceptable, but laudable? One character, blithely endorsing moral relativism, concludes that his acts weren’t inherently wrong. But Anwar's nightmares, escapist drug habits and evasive techniques imply the film’s true thesis.
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews