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Joshua Oppenheimer’s daring feat is a documentary unlike anything ever done. Despite it being one of the most difficult things to watch for any human being (or because of it), The Act of Killing received praise across the board, including an Academy Award nomination. Without Oppenheimer’s efforts, you might have never heard of the unspeakable events that happened when, in 1965-66, Suharto overthrew the then-president of Indonesia and a gangster-led death squad killed almost a million people. Did they pay for their crimes? Quite the contrary: said gangsters went on becoming political mainstays in modern-day Indonesia, are still now heralded as heroes, and admit to all these crimes with a smile and not a hint of regret. The gruesome twist of this documentary is that Oppenheimer asks them to re-enact the killings in surreal, sadistic snuff movies inspired by the murderer’s favorite action movies. You are forced to stand idly by as they re-create brutal mass murder and joke about raping a 14-year-old. However, somewhere amidst this terrifying farce, the killers, too, have fleeting moments of realization that what they’re doing is wrong. If you make it through this in one piece, try watching its more victim-focused follow-up The Look of Silence. Bone-chilling but very powerful stuff.
This is the best documentary I have ever watched.
It is not an easy watch. The story in the documentary is ignored by mainstream media. I was surprised by the extent of the atrocities committed by the government. This is not your normal documentary. Watch this The Look of Silence after by the same Director. Must Watch.
This pure emotion….after all those years finally they realized that what they did was utterly stupid and sinful.
This has to be one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. It breaks new ground regarding how a documentary can be made and what you can do with the genre. This movie changed me and I’m sure it will change those who watch it. Not easy to watch, but something everyone should see.
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