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The Act of Killing

Where to Watch The Act of Killing


The Act of Killing is an eye-opening documentary film that explores the 1965-1966 Indonesian communist purge. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, the film features Anwar Congo, Herman Koto and Syamsul Arifin.

The documentary takes a unique approach to history by having the perpetrators of the massacres recreate their experiences for the camera, highlighting their perspectives and perceptions. These reenactments, however, are more like performances, complete with costumes and props, rather than a straightforward retelling of events. This creates an incredibly surreal and eerie atmosphere that contrasts with the gravity of the subject matter.

The film centers around Anwar Congo, a small-time gangster who became a death squad leader during the purge. Congo and his men were responsible for the deaths of thousands of alleged communists and ethnic Chinese. The documentary follows Congo as he revisits his past and recreates his actions for the camera.

As the film progresses, we see how Anwar and his men justify their actions, arguing that they were merely following orders and were doing what they believed was necessary for the sake of their country. However, as they continue to film, we see the facade of indifference begin to crumble. Anwar begins to break down, haunted by the memories of his past, and ultimately realizes the horror of what he has done.

The Act of Killing is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that raises important questions about the nature of evil and the responsibility of the individual in the face of collective violence. Through its unique approach to storytelling, the film forces viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about the darker aspects of human nature.

The cinematography in The Act of Killing is stunning, and Oppenheimer uses a variety of visual techniques to highlight the strangeness of the reenactments. There are moments of surrealism and absurdity that emphasize the disconnect between the reality of the killings and the way the perpetrators remember them.

The use of sound is also incredibly effective, with the soundscape of the film often emphasizing the violence and chaos of the events being portrayed. The soundtrack, composed by Elin Øyen Vister, is haunting and ethereal, adding to the eerie atmosphere of the reenactments.

One of the most impressive aspects of The Act of Killing is the way it avoids making overly simplistic explanations for the violence that occurred in Indonesia. The film does not shy away from the complex political, economic, and social factors that contributed to the purge, nor does it demonize the perpetrators as one-dimensional villains. Instead, the documentary presents a nuanced and multi-layered portrayal of the events, emphasizing the complexity of human behavior and the difficulty of understanding the motivations of others.

Overall, The Act of Killing is a challenging and unforgettable documentary that sheds light on an often-overlooked chapter in Indonesian history. With its unique approach to storytelling and its powerful message, the film is a must-see for anyone interested in the nature of violence and its impact on individuals and communities.

The Act of Killing is a Documentary movie released in 2013. It has a runtime of 159 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly positive reviews, with an IMDb score of 8.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 91.

How to Watch The Act of Killing

Where can I stream The Act of Killing movie online? The Act of Killing is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV Channels, Peacock, Plex, The Roku Channel, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Act of Killing for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Joshua Oppenheimer
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