Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
A favorite right of the gate this year for Best Documentary Feature, “The Act Of Killing” landed as many critics’ picks for Best Documentary across the nation. Now, the only remaining favorite since “Blackfish” and “Stories We Tell”, the documentary category is so disheveled this year that at the moment, dark horse pick “20 Feet From Stardom” is the Gold Derby pick to win at the moment. However, now having seen “The Act Of Killing”, there’s a strong case to be made that this is the film to watch. Now having won the BAFTA for Best Documentary as well, it just pull through. An interesting documentary about paramilitary leaders a.k.a. death squad leaders in Indonesia, “The Act Of Killing” interviews these men about their practices and in the process unravels them unconsciously to the point where the film ends with the main death squad leader Anwar Congo dry heaving over the cruel acts that he performed, all without the film-makers saying a single word. Run a camera on anyone long enough and you’ll see their layers pull away and this film does that. Almost none of the former leaders have regrets and amid this documentary a film is being made celebrating the men and their techniques, to which they blame American cinema for their practices, aspiring to be the gangsters that were portrayed on-screen. This is what documentaries are made of, and while “20 Feet From Stardom” is well produced and well made, sit-down documentaries like that come a dime a dozen. But documentaries like “The Act Of Killing” happen once in a lifetime. Also executive produced by favorite Werner Herzog, which could give this film just the push it needs to win, this is Oppenheimer’s first Oscar nomination.
// Produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Andre Singer, and Joram Ten Brink //
// Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, February 15th, 2014 // DVD // 13 films – 16 days //