Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Act of Killing - Movie Review

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer.


I'm not that familiar with Indonesia, I'll admit, but my goodness, this movie opened my eyes and made me want to learn more.

Indonesia went through a violent revolution in the 1960's, and an attempted Communist uprising was squashed, squashed so thoroughly it would never rise again, squashed because those fighting against the Communists were so brutal and sadistic that over a million people were killed.

The killers never faced any trial, felt any repercussions. Indonesia existed with the mantra of "The only good Communist is a dead Communist" and guys who enjoyed torturing and killing were able to do so with impunity.

Forty years later, a filmmaker approached some of the killers with an idea - they'd make a movie where they'd re-enact what they did, and they're given license to do it however they wish. What follows is so surreal. I know we're just getting a slice of life here, but imagine if Hitler had won World War II and let Al Capone run America. That's what Indonesia feels like in this movie.

These remorseless killers are now fathers and grandfathers. They still openly joke about all the people they killed. But the more they get into the project, well, it's remarkable how open they are, and where the journey takes them.

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