The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated   |    |  Documentary, Biography, Crime


The Act of Killing (2012) Poster

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.


8.2/10
31,621

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  • Anwar Congo in The Act of Killing (2012)
  • The Act of Killing (2012)
  • The Act of Killing (2012)
  • The Act of Killing (2012)
  • Anwar Congo in The Act of Killing (2012)
  • Anwar Congo in The Act of Killing (2012)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Directors:

Joshua Oppenheimer , Anonymous (co-director), Christine Cynn (co-director)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


25 May 2013 | zelena33
Absolutely astounding
Watching this film should be mandatory for every man, woman, and child in the world.

I would leave it at that but IMDb has a minimum of 10 lines of text to prove you "mean business" with your review.

This film was utterly astounding in every sense, most importantly in the way it just lets a strange, inexplicable, simple truth emerge on its own. It is not a film that makes you feel better about the world or yourself, but rather one that makes you remember, oh yes, all this is real, and it really matters.

Without providing a spoiler, the final scene also underscores why documentaries are made, and the very real, very important things that utterly cannot be faked with all the acting, special effects, and make up in the world. That life is real.

--

I wanted to make one other note to my initial impression, since this film remains my favorite film of the year and possible of a several- year. It is worth highlighting the fact that Mr Oppenheimer spent a good eight or ten years of his life making this film, spending his life in Indonesia with a camcorder and progressively greater levels of logistical and technical help (from what has been made public about the film). Films like this don't get made in a year. Not at all.

It is worth reflecting on the connection between the time you invest in something, and what you get out of it. You get the same impression when you read, for example, one of the major novels of a couple centuries ago, but it is rare to see artistic works this big made anymore. War and Peace wasn't made in a year either. I somewhat feel for Mr Oppenheimer and the expectations that will precede his next work, whatever it is. Nothing like this will get made in the next two or three years, and that makes me the more grateful for this work.

Metacritic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

An audience member after a screening in Berlin said that what director Joshua Oppenheimer had done was "like having SS officers re-enact the Holocaust." Oppenheimer responded that it is not the same at all 'because 'the Nazis are no longer in power', while the death squad members shown in the documentary are still being protected by the Indonesian government.


Quotes

Anwar Congo: Why do people watch James Bond? To see action. Why do people watch films about Nazis? To see power and sadism! We can do that! We can make something even more sadistic than... more sadistic than what you see in movies about Nazis. Sure I can. ...


Crazy Credits

The name "Anonymous" appears 49 times under 27 different crew positions in the credits. This was done to protect the identities of those crew members who feared retribution from the former Indonesian death squad leaders.


Alternate Versions

The 159-min version is the director's cut. It is the only version being released in Indonesia, and was released alongside the 115-min version in Danish cinemas. Compared to the shorter version, the 159-minute version reveals more of the filmmaking method and also explores the role of propaganda cinema in maintaining anti-communist fervor. The fiction scenes take over the film's form to the extent that ultimately the boundaries between fiction and documentary blur. In the final act, Anwar's descent in the long version is longer and more complex.


Soundtracks

Genjer-Genjer
Composer:
Muhammad Arief
Courtesy of Sinar Samsi

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Documentary | Biography | Crime | History

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