The Act of Killing review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
From director Joshua Oppenheimer comes The Act of Killing, a film so morally bankrupt and wrong it took almost all my strength not to turn it off and watch a romantic comedy. Filled with distressing images presented by equally reprehensible people as if to show the artistic value of a documentary that is designed entirely to appal.
The film follows a group of Indonesian executioners who took part in the 1965 genocide of supposed Communists as they attempt to make a film about their actions for the Indonesian government. The group uses different approaches to tell their story as Oppenheimer follows them in their quest to create their disgusting art intent on seeing the true personalities of the people behind such violence.
Some may say this film needs to be seen as to stop or change a world or a country that has allowed things like this to happen. That’s a fair position yet The Act of Killing follows the perpetrators of some of the worst war crimes known to man as if they were ordinary citizens, it gives a voice to a group of people who feel little to no remorse for their actions as they revel in the fun of making a film about it. To fully emphasise the ridiculous nature of their enterprise and the disturbed exercise Oppenheimer is indulging in they proceed to re-enact their kills as part of a musical number Sick doesn’t even begin to describe Oppenheimers folly.
It’s not badly filmed or displayed, It’s beautifully framed and shows an Indonesia of beauty and freedom, a wonderfully emotional image on its own. Mixed with the sight of a man bragging that he could do whatever he wants because he was the winner in a one sided ‘war, The Act of Killing shows its true colors as a film that did not set out to but unintentionally glorified a dark moment in global history for the sake of entertainment, something I might add, you will not find watching this movie.