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The Act of Killing [Blu-ray]
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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.
Director's Cut (159 mins)
Director's Commentary with Werner Herzog
Errol Morris Essay
Q&A with Director Joshua Oppenheimer & Penny Woolcock
***** "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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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*.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most amazing thing I've ever seen on screen. Should be mandatory viewing for membership in the human race.Published 4 months ago by Linda Canzion
The subtitles are in white which on a small screen makes it almost impossible to followPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a film that offers a shocking and revealing insight into the mindset behind ethnic cleansing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by datbloke
It was nothing as I thought it would be. In fact I found it all a bit boring. Putting aside the content the filming was terrible.Published 14 months ago by Mr. N. J. Bevis
Too much for me, I watched half of it and couldn't continue.Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer