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The Act of Killing [Blu-ray]

3.9 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: Indonesian, English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Dogwoof
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Nov. 2013
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00E0MT3SE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,761 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

BAFTA Winner - Best Documentary 2014

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.

THE ACT OF KILLING is a journey into the memories and imaginations of the perpetrators, offering insight into the minds of mass killers. The film is a nightmarish vision of a frighteningly banal culture of impunity in which killers can joke about crimes against humanity on television chat shows, and celebrate moral disaster with the ease and grace of a soft shoe dance number.

Special Features:
Director's Cut (159 mins)
Director's Commentary with Werner Herzog
Errol Morris Essay
Q&A with Director Joshua Oppenheimer & Penny Woolcock
Cinema Trailer
Deleted Scenes

Reviews
***** "The most compelling thing you'll ever see" The Guardian
***** "Like no movie seen before" The Financial Times
***** "Shatteringly powerful" The Sunday Times
***** "Simply the best film of the year" The Metro
***** "An utterly fascinating, chilling, but important film" Independent on Saturday
***** "Unlike anything else out there" Little White Lies
***** "This might be the most important documentary ever." The Daily Mail

"Staggeringly original" Time Out
"A devastating, surreal must-see" The Evening Standard
"Challenges the very limitations of what a documentary can be" CineVue
"Shocking and surreal" The Skinny
"A strange and startling documentary" The Arts Desk
I have not seen a film as powerful, surreal, and frightening in at least a decade Werner Herzog

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is quite unusual to come across a piece of film making that owes so little to what has gone before, it has to be absolutely unique. This is essentially a documentary about the Indonesian killing squads from the 1960's and what they did, but with them re-enacting their deeds.

The `gangsters' are all Hollywood movie fans and so Director and visionary Joshua Oppenheimer invites these men to make their own films about what they did. They can use any medium they like. So we have exotic dancers emerging from the mouth of a wooden fish building. Actors parading in front of a waterfall pretending to be in heaven and a re-enactment of a village massacre, to name but three. Plus the obligatory scenes of torture and execution, with some bizarre make up in places. I do not know how he got these men to talk about what they did or to show in such graphic detail.

I often make notes if I am going to write a review, normally only a few sentences, but I wrote two pages on this. The main guy is Anwar Congo who shows us his Hollywood inspired garrotting and dyes his hair especially for the re-enactments. They all talk with disarming frankness about their crimes insisting that they, as gangsters, were always going to be better than communists.

They ignore the contradiction with Islam being into drugs, alcohol, mass murder etc. They still extort the ethnic Chinese and were content to be filmed doing this. They strut around with impunity and some of the scenes they get people to act for them and they all seem to be genuinely terrified, especially the children. One of them keeps dressing up as his women victims in a grotesque parody of what really must have taken place. There is some remorse but to say too little, too late, is obviously not enough.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Quite brilliant. Director seems to take a Freudian approach in order to open up these men to the truths of their past actions.
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Format: DVD
"The Act of Killing" (2013 release; 115 min.) is a documentary from writer-director Joshua Oppenheimer who sets out to interview/expose several of the "evil-doers" behind the mass killings that took place in Indonesia in 1965-66. As the documentary opens, we get to know Anwar Congo, one of those directly involved in these killings. Anwar and several of his croonies have decided, apparently with some coaxing and suggesting from Oppenheimer, to make a movie about the events from 65-66, so as to make sure everyone knows what really happened, including how exactly these killings were executed.

Several comments: first and foremost, in what kind of a world do we live in that these mass-murderers boast about what they did in the mid-60s without any fear of apprehension, let alone any regret over what they did? To the contrary, we see Anwar Congo and his croonies making the rounds of various media, including a national TV show, where the host merrily goes along. Likewise with Indonesia's politicians at the highest levels. Here is a Indonesian Vice-President addressing the Pancasila paramilitary oraganzation that did much of the killings in the mid-60s, there is the Minister of Information showing support for the making of the film, and on and on. It simple blows the mind. Second, it must be that these killers truly have no inkling why Oppenheimer is making this documentary, as they are on a very friendly and first-name basis with Oppenheimer throughout the movie. Third, the re-enactments make for difficult movie-watching at times, in particular the further we get into the movie. This is most definitely not for the faint of heart, so viewer beware.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A remarkable film which defies easy categorisation and feels genuinely unique. The film is not really a documentary but is a factual movie which contains much drama and at times it is profoundly disturbing. The central characters are revolting and it is hard to feel any sympathy or empathy for them yet the film is compelling. The film lacks the sort of expensive production values and effects of most movies yet despite feeling rather stripped back and even amateurish in places it grips the attention and is one of the most gripping movies I have seen for a long time. Hopefully it will make more people aware of the appalling events that took place in Indonesia in the 1960's and perhaps it may even cause some in Indonesia to consider those terrible events and the way they are remembered.
The blu ray is excellent, the picture is very sharp and crisp with very rich, vivid colours. The experience is very close to a cinematic experience on a good screen and it is well worth making the effort to get this version.
This is not the sort of movie everybody will enjoy and those looking for easy viewing or Hollywood blockbusters should look elsewhere, but I consider this to be a genuinely brilliant work. Very highly recommended, 5*.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is a funny one as at times it's incredibly difficult to watch as you see these men proudly talking about their horrific actions with a smile on their faces. You hear all the grim details of the executions carried out and it's incredibly unpleasant how forthcoming they are.
Unfortunately, the film overall is a little bit slow and plodding so you end up sinking back in your chair rather than being on the edge of your seat.
Worth a watch to find out more about a horrific time but don't watch if you're a little sleepy
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