The act of killing

The act of killing

DVD - 2014 | Indonesian
Average Rating:
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The filmmakers examine a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, challenging them to reenact their real-life mass-killings in the style of the American movies they love.
Published: [United States] :, Drafthouse Films,, [2014]
Edition: Director's cut and theatrical version.
Copyright Date: ©2014
Branch Call Number: DVD 323.4909 ACT
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (122 min. ; 166 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in. +,1 booklet (40 pages)
video file, DVD video, region 1, rda
NTSC, rda
Widescreen (1.85:1), rda
digital, optical, Dolby, rda
4 3/4 in.

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n
Nursebob
Oct 17, 2016

Director Joshua Oppenheimer lists Errol Morris and Werner Herzog amongst his executive producers and this shocking yet wholly unique documentary certainly bears their influence. With cinematic genres ranging from surreal musical numbers to violent film noir, former death-squad members seem to relish the chance to relive the good old days—one brags about how he perfected the art of garrotting, another reminisces on the joys of raping a 14-year old girl, and yet another coaches a village full of extras on how to react to watching their houses being burned to the ground. In between taping Oppenheimer engages the men with probing interviews in which they show neither remorse nor a fully developed conscience, nor even a full understanding of what a “communist” was. Indeed, he films them shaking down local shop owners and rubbing shoulders with sycophantic government officials as if these were everyday occurrences. However, as their film-within-a-film winds down one man begins to question what he did over forty years ago after he plays the role of a torture victim, but his dramatic reaction leaves you wondering whether this is the beginning of true contrition or simply another performance while the cameras roll. As an added note of irony, the closing credits list most of the Indonesian crew as “Anonymous” for fear of government reprisals. A horrifying glimpse into the minds responsible for the sadistic slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians.

s
snakie_chick
Jul 03, 2016

Jaw dropping.

1
1aa
Jul 02, 2016

Freakish film of a morally decrepit society: genocidal killers, former criminals (and sometimes its not 'former': there are shakedowns shown on film) and NGO and political leaders are all quite open about murdering peasants, suspected communists, accused communists, and even a few genuine communists. What makes it even creepier is that Congo's countenance bears a striking resemblance to Mandela's.

l
LittleNoName
Feb 14, 2016

Horrible subtitles made me stop watching.

q
Quetzlzacatenango
Oct 11, 2015

This could easily be considered a psychological study of a mass murderer. Captured on film is the gleeful recollection of brutal murders and the realization of the implications. While this is about what happened in Indonesia, this film gives insight into the state of mind of any society in turmoil. This could just as easily been about Sudan, Yugoslavia, Syria, or any other place or time in history where mob rule and fanaticism are rampant. Really extraordinary and disturbing.
I heard after I watched it that Werner Herzog said if you have not seen the Director's Cut then you have not seen this movie so I guess I would have to recommend to invest in the 3 hours.

m
marx_bro
Jul 05, 2015

Couldn't quite figure out this film. On the one hand, it's a documentary of four or five aging men in Indonesia who were members of a government-backed death-squad (circa 1960's)- charged with eradicating Indonesia of all Communist & Communist Party members. On the other hand it depicts these same men trying to produce an actual movies whose plot & meaning are still unclear to me. What is "entertaining" is the mater-of-fact way these men describe their brutal approach to murder. Also, after all these years, the way they deal with the guilt (or lack thereof) associated with their the multiple murders they each committed.

r
Ron@Ottawa
May 09, 2015

This film contains some very disturbing materials on mass murder (500,000 people killed), and how people got away with it with some showing little remorse for what they have done. I find it to be too long, and believe the film could be reduced to 100 minutes without losing its message and momentum. In Indonesian with subtitles.

s
sartreissmartre
Jan 13, 2015

This was the craziest documentary I have seen in a long time, just surreal and funny in a way that shocked me. I will watch anything Herzog does after this. Genius.

LRS1969 Jan 06, 2015

Quite interesting. Most high-star reviewers have expressed reviews that I could readily concur with... off-the-wall unsubstantiated conspiracy musings aside, of course!

s
StarGladiator
Jan 03, 2015

Oh wow! And to think our present president [President Obama] lived there during some of those times, and his mom was an anthropologist there, sponsored by Ford Foundation [weren't they once a front agent for the CIA?] grants [disbursed by a Mr. Geithner. . hmmm?] , and her husband, the president's stepdad [Lolo Soetoro] was an oil company liaison to the Indonesian government, and supporter of the bloody dictator involved, Suharto? Funny world, huh? [I once read the comments about this by a CIA veteran of this, and he didn't sound that much different form those psychos in this documentary!]

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jonsutton
Jan 18, 2017

jonsutton thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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