“Born free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows” - Ragtag ensemble cast singing along
!WARNING! Before I start, and for those with polar opposite views on this documentary than me. I honestly get what the film was attempting to achieve but for me it never came close - you want a true example of a mass genocide murder captured on film without the Mary Poppins spoonful of sugar, so that us dumb westerners can consume it. Go watch something like Walter Heynowski's The Laughing Man 1966 ...go on I dare ya.
The Act of Killing must be amazing because its got documentary heavy weights Werner Herzog & Errol Morris on-board as executive producers, two guys I highly respect. I must give it an instant 5 stars and deem it the best film of the year because it creatively shows how people with blood on their hands after mass genocide justify to themselves, preach to others and ultimately live after doing such horrendous things to fellow men/women/and cuddly teddies, all be it men of differing social viewpoints.
But I simply can't rate it so highly, the documentary though interesting at times especially during its more surreal moments of exuberance, made me feel absolutely nothing. The slight payoff at the end with central protagonist Anwar Congo showing signs of regret at his atrocities, did little to change my view. I actually found it tasteless doing 'Springtime for Hitler' styled propaganda musical pastiches knowing 2.5 million had died at the hands of maniacs like the ones featured in the film. Not sure watching the close to 3 hour Directors Cut version helped me either, because it was painfully overlong and chocked full of superfluous filler. I was expecting this to be one my films of the year, with no small part resting on Herzog's statement that its the most ground breaking film hes seen in years... sadly it shed little light on its outrageous subjects, who in the manner of Josef Mengele show no true regret of their apparent crimes.
[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]
The over the top re-enactment of the bloodied faced crying Communist whose fathers just been murdered, complete with a little cannibalistic liver munching. Ohh and amusingly trying to figure out who the anonymous 3rd director is, my moneys on either Mel Brooks or Trey Parker/Matt Stone.
Originally taken from Letterboxd