The Act Of Killing Reviews

Top Critic
James Adams
Globe and Mail
December 16, 2013
Bizarre, hypnotic, audacious.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
December 16, 2013
The emotional places this troubling movie takes him to are rewardingly primal and potent, forcing both subject and viewer to wrestle with internal demons.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
November 14, 2013
I certainly do not move that the film should be suppressed, only that one should know what it is. It is a bath in a smiling madness.
Top Critic
Bill Stamets
Chicago Sun-Times
August 16, 2013
This stunning "documentary of the imagination" shows Anwar and other thugs staging scenes of torture and murder for the camera.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 15, 2013
In The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer pulls off the impossible: He confronts great, incomprehensible evil and puts a human face on it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
August 8, 2013
Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary interviews leaders of Indonesian death squads responsible for deaths of millions & has them re-enact the killings. The combination of drama therapy and accidental self-exposure - utterly bizarre, unexpected and valuable.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
August 8, 2013
[A] unique and unforgettable documentary.
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
August 8, 2013
The acts it describes are shocking, the world it shows is shocking and the filmmaking itself is shocking. This is not a film easily forgotten.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
August 1, 2013
Directors Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn have created something extraordinary in The Act of Killing, the much-talked-about documentary about torture and murder during the Indonesian dictatorship of the '60s and '70s.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
August 1, 2013
A horrifying yet mesmerizing work, "The Act of Killing" instructively meanders at times as in a Werner Herzog film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
August 1, 2013
This riveting documentary about political mass murder in Indonesia incorporates the killers' own movie fantasies about their massacres and deepens our understanding of the fascist brain.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 1, 2013
It is utterly chilling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Laura Bennett
The New Republic
August 1, 2013
Better characters could hardly have been invented.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 1, 2013
What Oppenheimer is after is a parallel story, a glimpse into the minds of men who can recount mass killings and think "Those were the days."
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
August 1, 2013
"The Act of Killing" works on so many levels -- psychodrama, horror movie, Orwellian nightmare, Poe story -- that sifting through your reactions could take days.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Janice Page
Boston Globe
August 1, 2013
I can't be more direct. "The Act of Killing" is one of the most extraordinary films you'll ever encounter, not to mention one of the craziest filmmaking concepts anywhere, and that includes the whole Bollywood thing.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
August 1, 2013
It's a film that is absolutely hard to watch. It's also a film that absolutely should be seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 26, 2013
Oppenheimer allows murderous thugs free rein to preen their atrocities, and then fobs it all off as some kind of exalted art thing. This is more than an aesthetic crime; it's a moral crime.
Full Review | Original Score: D
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 25, 2013
Whatever you call it, The Act of Killing is a must-see.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 25, 2013
It's a mind-bending film, devastating and disorienting, that disturbs us in ways we're not used to being disturbed ...
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2013
[It] may be one of the most horrifying films you'll ever see, and one of the most edifying.
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
July 18, 2013
It will leave you breathless.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
July 18, 2013
It's a virtually unprecedented social document.
Top Critic
Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
July 18, 2013
The cumulative impact is devastating, and very far from a simple Western condemnation of another country's brutality.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
July 18, 2013
Among the most profound, formally complex, and emotionally overpowering documentaries I've ever seen.
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
July 18, 2013
This chilling documentary, executive produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, has a twisted but illuminating point of entry.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 18, 2013
This is not a movie that lets go of you easily.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
July 18, 2013
There are good reasons to see The Act of Killing, a new documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, but pleasure is not among them.
Top Critic
July 18, 2013
By tackling one man's sense of right and wrong (or lack thereof), Oppenheimer is ultimately tackling human nature.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Nick Schager
Village Voice
July 16, 2013
A supreme testament to the cinema's capacity for inquiry, confrontation, and remembrance.
Top Critic
Stephen Dalton
Hollywood Reporter
July 16, 2013
Crime but no punishment in remarkably revealing film about Indonesian death squads.
Top Critic
Peter Debruge
Variety
July 16, 2013
A blood-boiling look at a crime whose perpetrators remain national heroes in their native Indonesia.
Top Critic
James Rocchi
MSN Movies
July 16, 2013
"The Act of Killing" is disquieting, uncomfortable ... and riveting."
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Matt Patches
Film.com
July 15, 2013
The most gut-wrenching 'making of' documentary of all time.
Full Review | Original Score: 7.9/10
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 15, 2013
Bizarre to the point of trippiness, yet it's one of the most lucid portraits of evil I've ever seen.