The Act Of Killing (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Act Of Killing (2013)

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Critic Consensus: Raw, terrifying, and painfully difficult to watch, The Act of Killing offers a haunting testament to the edifying, confrontational power of documentary cinema.

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Anwar Congo and his friends have been dancing their way through musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes, and galloping across prairies as yodelling cowboys. Their foray into filmmaking is being celebrated in the media and debated on television, even though Anwar Congo and his friends are mass murderers. Medan, Indonesia. When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands. (c) Official Site
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Box Office:
$281,592.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Critic Reviews for The Act Of Killing

All Critics (137) | Top Critics (38)

Once you grasp just what is being enacted on the screen, The Act of Killing becomes something like a candy-colored moral migraine. An existential nausea is inevitable.

Full Review… | December 31, 2015
Tablet
Top Critic

Bizarre, hypnotic, audacious.

Full Review… | December 16, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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… | December 16, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

This stunning "documentary of the imagination" shows Anwar and other thugs staging scenes of torture and murder for the camera.

Full Review… | August 16, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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… | August 15, 2013
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Act Of Killing

A shocking and terrifying film that sets out to investigate the twisted minds and souls of death squad leaders in Indonesia, growing to become a disturbing panorama of a society and offering a unique sort of moral confrontation which could only be possible through Cinema.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Documentarians ask the leaders of Indonesian death squads to reenact their crimes. There are some incredibly absurd moments in the reenactments of various fifty-year-old murders, including one of the henchmen dressing up in drag for no discernible reason. But the heart of this documentary is compelling the film's primary subject to face his own flagging, ignored conscience. It takes a while, and there are blithe pronouncements about death and killing that make one's stomach turn, but the film eventually pays off. Overall, the gimmick of the film, the reenactments, seems a little weird, but the premise is still compelling.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

These may be the most absurd two hours of film I'll ever see. Though this documentary follows many mass murderers as they set out to make a movie boasting about their genocidal slaughters, it focuses in on Anwar Congo. Among these killers, Anwar made the biggest name for himself with his apathy and creativity. At the beginning of the documentary, he upholds his image as an untouchable, joyful and easy-going celebrity "free man." With a smile and tools in hand, he casually recalls and demonstrates his methods. Over the course of these two hours however, his internal transformation is the only thing that will make any sense. The footage here is astounding, and raises an overwhelming amount of questions about Indonesia's history and it's current state, as well as America and the UK's own culpability.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

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