The Act Of Killing
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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Bizarre, hypnotic, audacious."
‑ James Adams, Globe and Mail
"This stunning "documentary of the imagination" shows Anwar and other thugs staging scenes of torture and murder for the camera."
‑ Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
"Maddening, sorrowful, brilliant, and unforgettable."
‑ Dan Schindel, Movie Mezzanine
"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."
‑ Rich Cline,
"Raw and wrenching but narrow retro-focus on the slaughter of millions of Indonesian leftists in collusion with the CIA. But much like Out Of The Furnace, locating truth evasively within the masses, rather than tracing US government and economic roots."
‑ Prairie Miller, WBAI Radio
"The emotional places this troubling movie takes him to are rewardingly primal and potent, forcing both subject and viewer to wrestle with internal demons."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"In The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer pulls off the impossible: He confronts great, incomprehensible evil and puts a human face on it."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"The film of the year, if not the decade, if not documentary history."
‑ Rima Sabina Aouf, Concrete Playground
"Bizarre documentary featuring Hollywood-inspired, interpretive song and dance reenactments of ethnic cleansing in Indonesia."
‑ Kam Williams, Baret News
"It's a long and uncomfortable journey, but The Act of Killing is also fascinating, using film as a hall of mirrors to reveal not just the faces, but the twisted souls, of murderers."
‑ Damon Wise, Radio Times
"I certainly do not move that the film should be suppressed, only that one should know what it is. It is a bath in a smiling madness."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary interviews leaders of Indonesian death squads responsible for deaths of millions & has them re-enact the killings. The combination of drama therapy and accidental self-exposure - utterly bizarre, unexpected and valuable."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"Most challengingly, though, there is something palpably cathartic about the ritual of the re-creations."
‑ Jonathan Kiefer, SF Weekly
"Offers too many repetitive sections in which Anwar and company seem to be waxing nostalgic rather than exploring the implications of what they did."
‑ Mike McGranaghan, Film Racket
"Oppenheimer demonstrates how easily the passive spectator can become an unlikely abettor, and the great cause of his film is to make his actors and audience recognize their moral culpability."
‑ Christopher Gray, Boston Phoenix
More reviews for The Act Of Killing on Rotten Tomatoes