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The Act of Killing [Blu-ray] (2012)

Haji Anif , Syamsul Arifin , Joshua Oppenheimer  |  NR |  Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Haji Anif, Syamsul Arifin, Sakhyan Asmara
  • Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Video Group
  • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,622 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Startling and inventive . . . this is not a movie that lets go of you easily. --The New York Times

. . . could well change how you view the documentary form. --Los Angeles Times

A masterpiece of murder and the movies. --Village Voice

. . . could well change how you view the documentary form. --Los Angeles Times

A masterpiece of murder and the movies. --Village Voice

Product Description

This chilling and inventive documentary, executive-produced by Errol Morris (The Fog of War) and Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes, and are challenged to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style of the American movies they love. The hallucinatory result is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit. THE ACT OF KILLING is an unprecedented film that, according to The Los Angeles Times, could well change how you view the documentary form.

*Indonesian with English Subtitles*

Special Features:

SPECIAL FEATURES - INCLUDES TWO VERSIONS OF THE FILM: 165-min. Director s Cut; 122-Min Theatrical Cut; 45-min. Interview with Oppenheimer on Democracy Now!; Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Werner Herzog and Director Joshua Oppenheimer; Vice Presents: Werner Herzog and Errol Morris on The Act of Killing; Deleted Scenes; Trailers; 40-page Booklet Featuring an Essay by Errol Morris; Digital Download *Digital Download is Region A/1*

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Troubling Masterpiece September 5, 2013
In 1965 the Indonesian military responded to an attempted coup with the massacre of at least 500,000 people. They employed local gangs to help carry out these murders, transforming young idling street toughs into death squads who killed without abandon or regard to the political pretense of eradicating the alleged communist threat.

Anwar Congo is one of these killers, a flamboyant man with a penchant for the gangster movies he once stood outside scalping tickets to. Anwar has never been charged for his crimes. To the contrary, his atrocities have made him somewhat of a minor celebrity in his hometown of Medan, a large city in Sumatra. He believes he is responsible for murdering about a thousand people; mostly by strangling them with piano wire, the way gangsters did it in the movies.

Joshua Oppenheimer met Mr. Congo traveling through Indonesia while working on another project. He was struck by Congo's zeal in recounting his horrific acts like an aged athlete recalling his bygone glory days, acting out his crimes and providing little asides on the most efficient methods of killing a large number of people quickly and cleanly.

Oppenheimer proposed filming and financing re-enactments of Congo's crimes starring the murderer himself, his surviving accomplices, and his young lackeys. As inexplicable as Oppenheimer's proposition to help a mass murderer make a film is, Congo's decision to recreate his transgressions through an array of genres - horror, musical, war, westerns and, of course, gangster - is even more baffling. Oppenheimer's documentary, The Act of Killing, is the collision of Congo's bizarre scenes realized, chilling interviews, and fly on the wall observation.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars.. shocking and revolting August 29, 2013
"The Act of Killing" (2013 release; 115 min.) is a documentary from writer-director Joshua Oppenheimer who sets out to interview/expose several of the "evil-doers" behind the mass killings that took place in Indonesia in 1965-66. As the documentary opens, we get to know Anwar Congo, one of those directly involved in the killings. Anwar and several of his croonies have decided, apparently with some coaxing and suggesting from Oppenheimer, to make a movie about the events from 65-66, so as to preserve hisotry and making sure everyone knows what really happened, including how exactly these killings were executed.

Several comments: first and foremost, in what kind of a world do we live that these mass-murderers boast about what they did in the mid-60s without any fear of apprehension, let alone any regret over what they did? To the contrary, we see Anwar Congo and his croonies making the rounds of various media, including a national TV show, where the host merrily goes along. Likewise with Indonesia's politicians at the highest levels. Here is a Indonesian Vice-President addressing the Pancasila paramilitary oraganzation that did much of the killings in the mid-60s, there is the Minister of Information showing support for the making of the film, and on and on. It simple blows the mind. Second, it must be that these killers truly have no inkling why Oppenheimer is making this documentary, as they are on seemingly very friendly terms and a first-name basis with Oppenheimer throughout the movie. Third, the re-enactments make for difficult movie-watching at times, in particular the further we get into the movie. This is most definitely not for the faint of heart, so viewer beware.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
It is quite unusual to come across a piece of film making that owes so little to what has gone before, it has to be absolutely unique. This is essentially a documentary about the Indonesian killing squads from the 1960’s and what they did, but with them re-enacting their deeds.

The ‘gangsters’ are all Hollywood movie fans and so Director and visionary Joshua Oppenheimer invites these men to make their own films about what they did. They can use any medium they like. So we have exotic dancers emerging from the mouth of a wooden fish building. Actors parading in front of a waterfall pretending to be in heaven and a re-enactment of a village massacre, to name but three. Plus the obligatory scenes of torture and execution, with some bizarre make up in places. I do not know how he got these men to talk about what they did or to show in such graphic detail.

I often make notes if I am going to write a review, normally only a few sentences, but I wrote two pages on this. The main guy is Anwar Congo who shows us his Hollywood inspired garrotting and dyes his hair especially for the re-enactments. They all talk with disarming frankness about their crimes insisting that they, as gangsters, were always going to be better than communists.

They ignore the contradiction with Islam being into drugs, alcohol, mass murder etc. They still extort the ethnic Chinese and were content to be filmed doing this. They strut around with impunity and some of the scenes they get people to act for them and they all seem to be genuinely terrified, especially the children. One of them keeps dressing up as his women victims in a grotesque parody of what really must have taken place. There is some remorse but to say too little, too late, is obviously not enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a pleasant film
This is an important film, but don't expect entertainment. There;s much here that is revolting, and it's for those who can bring themselves to watch these atrocities in order to... Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Neal C. Reynolds
It blows my mind what these filmmakers were able to accomplish. Coaxing the participation of the films subjects is perhaps the most profound illustration of what Hannah Arendt... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Day2
4.0 out of 5 stars have only been able to watch first half of it so far (SPOILERS)...
checked it out from the library yesterday. an amazing, brutally honest film. I have never seen a documentary where the perpetrators of horrific acts willingly tell what they did... Read more
Published 19 days ago by customerS
3.0 out of 5 stars Made It to Halfway Point. Felt Complicit by Giving them The Spotlight...
I really didn't want to watch this, but gave it a try to see if I was missing anything. Although it is well-done, I made it to the halfway point and made the conscious decision to... Read more
Published 19 days ago by SanDiegoJesse
1.0 out of 5 stars low act
Untrue story, low act of story telling, no one buy that kind of facts, this person only dreaming to become worst person
Published 19 days ago by ben suripto
1.0 out of 5 stars SUCKS
This show is poorly done and is tasteless, this shows how barbaric these countries are and the way they really are waste of my money wouldnt recommend to anyone.
Published 21 days ago by Sparger
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite extraordinary
There can be very few places today where such a film could be made as either the law or public opinion would not allow it. Read more
Published 24 days ago by John Chandler
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a film about us.
Fascinating and compelling whilst not conforming to the genre. Documentaries are unable to be absolute truths (For that go to your local library). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Alexander Tabrizi
3.0 out of 5 stars Chilling
Somewhat confusing. Well-done documentary, but hardly entertaining, unless you thought Killing Fields was high comedy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Markku A. Sario
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I thought this would be a documentary of the tragedies of war, however it seems to be an exercise for a few gangsters who survived the times. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A Everett
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