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Into the Abyss (2011)

 -  Documentary  -  30 March 2012 (UK)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,370 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 38 user | 123 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

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Title: Into the Abyss (2011)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Himself (voice)
Richard Lopez ...
Himself (as The Reverend Richard Lopez)
Michael Perry ...
Himself
Damon Hall ...
Himself
Lisa Stolter-Balloun ...
Herself
Charles Richardson ...
Himself
Jason Burkett ...
Himself
Jared Talbert ...
Himself
Amanda West ...
Herself
Delbert Burkett ...
Himself
Melyssa Thompson-Burkett ...
Herself (as Melyssa Burkett)
Fred Allen ...
Himself
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Storyline

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material and some disturbing images | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

30 March 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$47,559 (USA) (11 November 2011)

Gross:

$216,262 (USA) (16 December 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Fred Allen: Hold still and watch the birds. Once you get up into your life like that, and once you feel good about your life, you do start watching what the birds do. What the doves are doing. The hummingbirds. My, there's so many of them.
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Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.17 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A look into the lives surrounding a Texas execution
17 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Herzog's work may lend itself to interpretation more than most. And while it may just be a quibble of emphasis, I would not, as the other two reviewers here have, say this is essentially a documentary about 'capital punishment'. Just as I would not say "grizzly man" was really a documentary about bear attacks. Herzog lets it be known he doesn't approve of the death penalty, but mostly, like most Herzog documentaries, this just struck me as a portrait of (as another reviewer put it well) the "ill-fated".

Certainly, if you go into this thinking you're going to get Michael Moore style anti-death penalty agitprop, you're going to be disappointed. This is a series of interviews with a Texas death row inmate scheduled for imminent execution (an inmate Herzog has characterized in interviews as a "truly frightening" human being) and the lives of some of those either the case, or the Texas Death Penalty system generally, have touched upon. It is probably the least sensationalistic account of its sort put on film. And for that alone, Herzog deserves praise.

Having lived in Houston for many years and knowing this area just north of it pretty well, I can say Herzog is able convey a lot about the area and its people, through the lens of this horrific act, very well.

Well, once more, what is it about, if not capital punishment.... I think Herzog in a related context (his "On Death Row" documentary series) may have put it best when an attorney he was interviewing noted 'we all have a need to humanize' and rationalize these people who have done terrible things, and Herzog stopped them to say "I don't humanize them. I don't want to humanize. They simply are human beings". And that's kind of how I saw 'into the abyss'. It's not an attempt to rationalize or humanize a triple-murderer, nor is it an attempt rationalize, demonize, or humanize state sanctioned execution. It's just portrait of a piece of life as it is now lived.


15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Melyssa's Comment About Baby princess_of_pure_delight
Did anyone else get bored after 30 minutes? professorhulk
Death Row inmates are going to die anyway...why speed up the process? s-d-2
Justice melyssamachelle
confused about who was supposed to have committed the murders Evil_Will_Hunting
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