The Act of Killing

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 74 out of 83
  2. Negative: 5 out of 83
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  1. Feb 17, 2014
    10
    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. Jul 29, 2013
    10
    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
  3. Apr 8, 2014
    9
    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
    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.
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  4. Sep 8, 2013
    10
    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 how America has contributed to these murders through culture and financial aid. Exposed as well is the amount of corruption and political oppression aroundThis 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.
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  5. Sep 11, 2013
    7
    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 their methods. The pacing lags when there's too much talk, but the "acts" and the final scenes are dramatically powerful. (Subtitles)
  6. Feb 15, 2014
    7
    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 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,
    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 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.
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  7. Jul 19, 2013
    10
    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????
  8. May 31, 2015
    10
    “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 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
  9. Jul 11, 2015
    10
    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.
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Sep 13, 2013
    100
    The Act of Killing is exemplary as a history lesson, a character study and a powerful argument for confronting the past.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 16, 2013
    60
    It's also a touch tedious at times, as it's not always clear where Oppenheimer is going.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 15, 2013
    100
    In The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer pulls off the impossible: He confronts great, incomprehensible evil and puts a human face on it.