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The Act of Killing

A story of killers who win, and the society they build 

Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer 
Starring: Anwar Congo, Haji Anif, Syamsul Arifin  
Review:

Oppenheimer's highly acclaimed The Act of Killing is a documentary with a difference. Focussing on Indonesian death squad killers, and allowing them to re-enact their crimes for the rolling camera in a variety of Hollywood styles allowing them to dance their way through musical numbers, twist arms in film noir gangster scenes, and gallop across prairies as yodelling cowboys, it is raw, astonishing and utterly horrifying.

Heralded as a "masterpiece" and as "an important exploration of the complex psychology of mass murderers," the film explores the conscience of Anwar Congo, who personally killed over one thousand people. Rather than demonising Anwar or portraying him as a caricature, he is undeniably a human being, albeit a murderous bully, which makes every moment so much more real and gut-wrenching.

The powerful picture becomes more surreal and nightmarish as it goes on, resulting in a breath-taking climax. The Act of Killing will stay with you long after the credits roll, and will truly make you question the concept of humanity in a way that a straight-laced documentary never could.

Kat Sroga

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Spring Term (digital)