The Act Of Killing (2013)
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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Critic Reviews for The Act Of Killing
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.
The emotional places this troubling movie takes him to are rewardingly primal and potent, forcing both subject and viewer to wrestle with internal demons.
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.
This stunning "documentary of the imagination" shows Anwar and other thugs staging scenes of torture and murder for the camera.
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.
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.
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.
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