Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss

Poster for Into the Abyss

Documentary from Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten DreamsGrizzly Man) examining capital punishment - on why people kill, and why the state kills. More

The focus is on a triple homicide case in Texas. Herzog interviews (though as he told the Guardian, he doesn't like the term 'interviews': "I'm not a journalist; I'm a poet. I had a discourse, an encounter with these people but I never had a list of questions.") 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry, scheduled to die within eight days.

He also speaks with families of the victims and perpetrators, as well as a state executioner and pastor who have been with death row prisoners as they’ve taken their final breaths. Herzog describes it as "a gaze into the abyss of the human soul."

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2011USA, UK, Germany
Documentary
Director:
Werner Herzog ('Cave of Forgotten Dreams', 'Bad Lieutenant', 'Grizzly Man', 'Aguirre, Wrath of God')
Writer:
Werner Herzog

Into the Abyss | Reviews

92%116 reviews

Rotten Tomatoes® Score

All reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
Variety

Variety

Dares to plumb the dark hole in America's soul. Herzog's investigation may not work as an anti-death-penalty editorial, but its findings are undeniably profound.

Full review
Total Film

Total Film

Herzog's tapestry testifies to life's light from death's darkness. Its honest humanity and sideways-on character bare his illuminating imprint.

Full review
The New York Times

The New York Times

Superficially resembles the kind of titillating, moralizing true-crime shockumentary that is a staple of off-hours cable television. But the grim ordinariness of the narrative makes its Dostoyevskian dimensions all the more arresting.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

It is a sombre, thoughtful, restrained and often powerful piece of work.

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Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

May be the saddest film Werner Herzog has ever made. It regards a group of miserable lives, and in finding a few faint glimmers of hope only underlines the sadness.

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Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

What is missing is something new - clarity, insight, outrage. Instead, its understatement is ultimately its undoing.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Above all it's a portrait of stunned grief, of the devastation families endure, whether through violence, accidents, illness or incarceration.

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Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

A haunting portrayal of people who are neither completely innocent nor wholly evil, and the terrible price of killing, whether in the pursuit of a sports car or in the name of justice.

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A.V. Club

A.V. Club

Powerfully suggests that violent death of any kind, whether personal or state-mandated, transforms everyone in its vicinity.

Full review

Into the Abyss | Release Details

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