December 15, 2014

The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing is a documentary about some Indonesian death squad leaders who are asked to recreate their previous deeds under the guise of making a movie. It has been nominated for numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Documentary.

Anwar Congo was a death squad leader who is responsible for killing hundreds, if not well over a thousand, suspect communists in Indonesia back in the 1960's. He revisits places where people were tortured and killed and describes it like an athlete might describe a memorable touchdown or home run. Congo's preferred method of killing was to wrap a wire around the victim's next and pull it tight.

This movie does little to explain the political/social situation from back then so it's not very useful for a history lesson. Instead, this is all about how people justify torture and murder. There's one part where a government official comes in to help them do a crowd scene (for the movie they are supposed to be making) where the death squad is rounding up communists from a village, including women and children. It's incredibly chaotic and scary, and the kids are crying real tears by the end of it. Even the government guy warns them that they need to be careful not to appear too harsh. It's nuts.

I can't say that I enjoyed this movie because that would be like saying I enjoy watching people get into car accidents. It's still a very interesting portrayal of officially sanctioned madness and the toll it takes not only on the victims but the perpetrators.

No comments:

Post a Comment