The Act of Killing

"Extraordinary"

The Act of Killing Review


One of the most audacious documentaries ever made, this mind-boggling film forces us to examine our opinions about human history far beyond the events covered on-screen. Filmmaker Oppenheimer and his crew attempt something seriously ingenious, coaxing a group of killers to re-enact their atrocities in ways that are deeply disturbing and eerily, blackly funny.

The historical event in question is Indonesia's 1965 coup, after which an estimated 1 million people were murdered in an effort to stomp out communism. But this is the government that's still in power today, so a bitter anti-communist attitude prevails, and the killers are treated as national heroes. Oppenheimer interviews these death-squad members, asking them to make a movie depicting the year-long extermination. Since they have never been charged with a crime, they feel no guilt or remorse about their actions. And what Oppenheimer does so cleverly is force them to think about what it would be like to be in their victims' shoes.

It's profoundly fascinating to watch these men who have tried to cover their memories through alcohol over the years. And as they re-stage their hideous attacks on women and children to make a film, they begin to see that this might be making them look bad. Intriguingly, they recreate their actions in the style of their favourite genre: gangster movies. (They gloat that their film will be more sadistic than a Nazi movie.) Indeed, these men are gangsters who actually hated communism because it threatened their criminal businesses.

Watching this film is a heart-stopping experience, as the irony is completely lost on these men. And they're seriously colourful characters, especially Koto, who loves to drag-up to play the grand dame. Their constant joking gives the film an even more unnerving undertone, as they detail the horrors of their pasts and then begin to think about what they've done. It's not as if they feel any actual regret, but when they start to worry that their re-enaction of a mass slaughter might look worst than it actually was, we can see in their eyes that they know the reverse is true. Essential viewing.

Watch 'The Act Of Killing' Trailer

 



The Act of Killing

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th November 2012

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $444.6 thousand

Budget: $1000 thousand

Distributed by: Drafthouse Films

Production compaines: Spring Films, Final Cut for Real, Piraya Film A/S, Novaya Zemlya

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 126 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Signe Byrge Sorensen

Starring: Anwar Congo as Himself, Herman Koto as Himself, Syamsul Arifin as Himself, Ibrahim Sinik as Himself, Yapto Soerjosoemarno as Himself, Safit Pardede as Himself, Jusuf Kalla as Himself, Adi Zulkadry as Himself, Haji Anif as Himself, Sakhyan Asmara as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.