We saw The Act of Killing with our friend Ben. Here’s what he had to say about it:
The Act of Killing is a documentary about real human beings who committed inhuman acts, and the ways in which they continue to justify their atrocities and cope with the unpunished consequences of those acts. What is most frightening about The Act of Killing is not necessarily the acts these men committed, but the thought that all of us, as fellow human beings, have the potential to commit such acts, and the potential to twist ourselves into grotesque knots in justification.Though there are glimpses, there is no real redemption here. For these men to admit the weight of their crimes would be for them to unravel their entire construction of themselves, like pulling a thread and watching a tapestry unravel, they would be left with nothing. The Act of Killing is a stunning, visionary movie.
I’m not even sure what to say about The Act of Killing. It’s similar to something like Schindler’s List: not enjoyable, but amazing and important. I’m glad I saw it but at the same time wouldn’t mind forgetting that I saw it. I pretty much knew I had to see any documentary supported by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, and I can see why they (especially Morris) were probably so drawn to The Act of Killing, if based on nothing else than the premise and weird structure of the documentary.
After seeing this, I’m at least slightly convinced that director Joshua Oppenheimer might really be a genius. How do you get evil people to face the evil acts that they’ve done? In this case, it’s by asking them to recreate their evil acts for a film, using different genres. Because the perpetrators do not believe they’re evil or what they did was necessarily wrong, this method is probably the closest they’re ever going to come to facing some kind of truth.
The Act of Killing is terrifying. I found it very hard to wrap my mind around what the subjects had done (the main subject, Anwar Congo, murdered an estimated 1,000 people suspected or accused of being Communist or Chinese), because the acts were hailed in the media and in their home country. The best way I can think of to describe it, is if everything in the Holocaust had happened exactly how it did – except everyone thought the Nazis were right in their actions. It’s insane, but that’s how it is in this case. A television show host casually mentions exterminating Communists and their genius methods for doing so. It’s completely insane and totally scary.
If you have a chance to see The Act of Killing, you really should. But expect to feel shitty about humanity afterward.
This was the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life. It was absolutely horrifying. In the end though, I’m very glad I watched this. What was interesting was how differently all the “killers” involved have coped with what they did. Anwar Congo, the main guy, has terrible nightmares and is kind of just thinking that what he did was wrong, one guy thinks it was all okay and that everyone else are fools to question what he did, and the other (who looks exactly like Yajirobe from DBZ) is just really doofy and doesn’t really look like he’s really ever questioned it.
What makes this film so scary is that even though what these people did was years ago it is still very clear how much power they have today. The killers have ordinary villagers act in their movie but even though the main people are acting it is very obvious that the ordinary people acting are shedding real tears.
This movie is extremely powerful and if you have the stomach to sit through it I highly suggest you see it.