Country: Denmark / UK / others
Movie Review: “The Act of Killing” is a hard-to-watch documentary about a bunch of Indonesian executioners (gangsters or free men according to their explanation), who were responsible for the death of more than one million people during the 1965-1966 anti-communist purge. They were supported by the Government and protected by a dangerous right-wing paramilitary organization called ‘Pancasila Youth’. Since most of them showed no regrets for thousands of deaths, boasting themselves with the crimes committed against innocent people, I wonder what these men are made of. The objective here was to make them recreate their own past actions, including interrogatories, torture, and consequent extermination of people they accused to be ‘communists’, nothing more than opponents of a corrupt and intolerant regime. Excited to be in a film representing their dirty work, the men revealed to be ignorant in many aspects, cruel executioners, and money extorters, making this film risible and appalling at the same time. Their performances have the same effect of a bizarre circus, recreating horrible methods of torture with an easiness that is quite shocking. With illustrious documentarians such as Errol Morris and Werner Herzog as executive producers, “The Act of Killing” discloses scandalous truths that won’t leave you indifferent. Former assassins Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry were the main protagonists in a film that gathers all the madness associated to its characters, proving in a cynical, yet exceptional manner that pure evil really exists. Essential viewing!