The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing

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The Act of Killing

Surreal, experimental Oscar-nominated documentary (executive produced by masters Werner Herzog and Errol Morris) based on the experiences of former members of Indonesian death squads. Director Joshua Oppenheimer asks these men to re-enact the murders they committed - after the pro-communist Indonesian government was violently overthrown by the army in 1965 - in their favourite film genres. The resulting dramatisations take gangster, western and musical forms in what Oppenheimer calls "a documentary of the imagination."

"In the year following the Indonesian military coup of 1965, pro-regime paramilitaries of the Pancasila Youth and sadistic criminals killed more than a million alleged Communists. These murders went unpunished and the perpetrators are still powerful, influential people who can rely on the support of corrupt politicians. These men proudly recall their struggle against the Communists and demonstrate their efficient methods of slaughter.

"Slim Anwar Congo and portly Herman Koto are delighted when the film's directors ask them to re-enact these murders for their documentary. They zealously set about finding actors, designing elaborate costumes and discussing possible scenarios... But eventually the film project gets these men to talk about and reflect upon their actions as they have never done before. Congo says that for the first time he felt what his victims must have felt. It begins to dawn on him exactly what he did to hundreds of people. The reconstruction of reality has become more real for these men than their actions originally were." (Berlin Film Festival)

Best Documentary, BAFTAs 2014; Winner of Panorama Audience Award and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Berlin Film Festival 2012
2012Rating: R13, Violence, content that may disturb122 minsDenmark, Norway, UKIndonesian with English subtitles
Documentary
Director:
Joshua Oppenheimer ('The Entire History of the Louisiana Purchase')
80%
want to see

Streaming (3 Providers)

Reviews & comments

Horrific, fascinating, unpleasant and unparalleled...

Joshua Oppenheimer's unsettling film utilises real Indonesian murderers re-enacting real murders in the style of Hollywood movie cliches. If you're concerned it puts an all too human face on mass murderers, then you're right. That's the point. In fiction it is demons, ghosts, vampires and zombies who commit evil acts. In reality it's people... An horrific,...

5.0
0
Variety

Variety

press

A blood-boiling look at a crime whose perpetrators remain national heroes in their native Indonesia.

0
Total Film

Total Film

press

Evil has rarely seemed so banal.

4.0
0
Time Out

Time Out

press

If Oppenheimer’s aim is to question and investigate what life the past has in the present, he has succeeded in a staggeringly original way.

5.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

This is not a movie that lets go of you easily.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

It is a gut-churning film: and a radical dive into history, grabbing the past in a way a conventional documentary would not.

5.0
0
The Dissolve

The Dissolve

press

Raises all kinds of provocative questions about the sins of nations in transition, and about how important it is for those in power to control the narrative.

0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Crime but no punishment in remarkably revealing film about Indonesian death squads.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

To say this film deserves to be seen is an understatement; there are really few words to describe the images it shows or, more disturbingly, the memories it conjures with.

0
Variety

Variety

press

A blood-boiling look at a crime whose perpetrators remain national heroes in their native Indonesia.

0
Total Film

Total Film

press

Evil has rarely seemed so banal.

4.0
0
Time Out

Time Out

press

If Oppenheimer’s aim is to question and investigate what life the past has in the present, he has succeeded in a staggeringly original way.

5.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

This is not a movie that lets go of you easily.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

It is a gut-churning film: and a radical dive into history, grabbing the past in a way a conventional documentary would not.

5.0
0
The Dissolve

The Dissolve

press

Raises all kinds of provocative questions about the sins of nations in transition, and about how important it is for those in power to control the narrative.

0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Crime but no punishment in remarkably revealing film about Indonesian death squads.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

To say this film deserves to be seen is an understatement; there are really few words to describe the images it shows or, more disturbingly, the memories it conjures with.

0

Horrific, fascinating, unpleasant and unparalleled...

Joshua Oppenheimer's unsettling film utilises real Indonesian murderers re-enacting real murders in the style of Hollywood movie cliches. If you're concerned it puts an all too human face on mass murderers, then you're right. That's the point. In fiction it is demons, ghosts, vampires and zombies who commit evil acts. In reality it's people... An...

5.0
0