Opening

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Top Box Office

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Into The Abyss Reviews

Page 1 of 6
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching Into the Abyss, I had the overwhelming sense that, somewhere along the way, Werner Herzog lost his way.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 15, 2011
Robbie Collin
Daily Telegraph

The extensive use of lurid crime scene videos and subtitles set in a naff typewriter font sit uneasily with the director's opposition to capital punishment.

Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph | Original Score: 2/5

March 29, 2012
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

November 10, 2011
Nick Schager
House Next Door

Rarely has Werner Herzog seemed less capable of infusing a nonfiction inquiry with poetic depth than with Into the Abyss.

Full Review Source: House Next Door

November 4, 2011
Sarah Boslaugh
Playback:stl

I doubt anyone would give Into the Abyss a second look were it not directed by Werner Herzog.

Full Review Source: Playback:stl | Original Score: 4/10

January 25, 2012
Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews

Herzog's film examines the taking of life, whether the person who is dying is a criminal...or a woman interrupted while making cookies, as Stotler was, but it does so in an oddly distanced manner.

Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews | Original Score: C+

November 10, 2011
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's really just a rambling episode of A Current Affair.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C

November 10, 2011
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What could have been a well-aimed examination of the most troubling contradictions of capital punishment instead becomes a maudlin, unrestrained wallow.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 1/4

November 11, 2011
Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle

Herzog is an eloquent interviewer/documentarian. Yet his technically flawless film leaves you reeling emotionally even as you wonder why, and why now, he's turned his lens on the American way of crime and punishment.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/5

November 18, 2011
Will Leitch
Deadspin

A virtuoso work, unparalleled in Herzog's career. And it'll just break your heart.

Full Review Source: Deadspin | Original Score: A-

June 22, 2013
Adam Ross
The Aristocrat

This is humane, fascinating documentary filmmaking that is willing to confront insurmountable issues. And as is the case with most true crime material: truth is stranger than fiction.

Full Review Source: The Aristocrat | Original Score: 5/5

September 27, 2012
John Hanlon
Big Hollywood

A smart documentary that takes sides in the death penalty debate but never shies away from the horrendous crimes at the center of the story.

Full Review Source: Big Hollywood | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 30, 2013
Emily McMehen
Electric Sheep

The honesty of the flesh, the absurdity of the sacred, the enduring equivalence of meaninglessness that all men share. Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life finds its foothold here.

Full Review Source: Electric Sheep

March 30, 2012
Ian Buckwalter
NPR.org

Herzog unforgettably shows how when you pull tight the straps on men who've lain down to die, it leaves a mark.

Full Review Source: NPR.org | Original Score: 8.5/10

December 8, 2011
Landon Palmer
Film School Rejects

Herzog proves a formidable guide through several controversial conditions of American life: notably crime and punishment, and living with death.

Full Review Source: Film School Rejects | Original Score: B+

November 19, 2011
Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Herzog is empathetic and non-judgmental, even as his interview subjects try to rationalize their lives, declare their innocence and the like.

Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Original Score: 3/4

December 28, 2012
Sam Adams
Philadelphia City Paper

The title Into the Abyss could serve for any of Werner Herzog's documentaries, but this portrait of death row inmate Michael Perry is perhaps the least Herzogian film in his nonfiction catalogue.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia City Paper | Original Score: B+

November 24, 2011
Jeff Meyers
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Into the Abyss is both affecting and frustrating, the work of a smart and sensitive filmmaker who, much like the justice system he confronts, mistakes half-formed ideas for profound truth.

Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI) | Original Score: B

November 17, 2011
Philip Concannon
The Skinny

Yet another intriguing and surprising film from this ever-fascinating documentarian.

Full Review Source: The Skinny | Original Score: 4/5

February 23, 2012
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

[Herzog] simply means to show us things as they are - and in this corner of Texas, just north of Houston, things are undeniably violent. And mean.

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: 87/100

December 14, 2011

Sight and Sound
April 3, 2012

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012

Sight and Sound
June 26, 2012
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