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Into the Abyss (2011)

 -  Documentary  -  30 March 2012 (UK)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,940 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 37 user | 124 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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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

Into the abyss explores a triple murder which occurred in the small Texas City of Conroe in 2001. Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, murdered a middle-aged housewife; they then gunned down her stepson and his friend. The film features Conversations with the two inmates and those affected by their crime. Unlike many of the films that deal with crimes, into the abyss isn't concerned with figuring out exactly what happened, but rather serves as an examination of why people - and the state - kill. Written by Brad

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:

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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

 
"Illuminating and thorough documentary..."
23 January 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

German screenwriter, producer, actor and director Werner Herzog's twenty-fifth documentary which he wrote and narrated, is an American production about capital punishment which lacks the presence of Werner Herzog's characteristic voice-over. It tells the story about Michael Perry, a 28-year-old inmate on death row with eight days left to live, and his accomplice Jason Burkett who got a life sentence due to his imprisoned father's testimony. These two young men were convicted of a pointless triple homicide which occurred in Conroe, Texas in 2001. Even though the evidence against them was solid, they claimed their innocence.

Though opposed to capital punishment Werner Herzog, who has gone into more than one abyss during his impressive career, does not question the matter of guilt in this illuminating and thorough documentary which is told through a wide variety of interviews with people who were involved in the case. Werner Herzog has a profound way of depicting individuals and their surroundings, and his fascination with unadaptable, eccentric and ill-fated people is evident in this psychological study where he gets the most out of the people he interviews and emphasizes that everyone has lead a significant life and has unique stories to tell.

Werner Herzog draws a multifaceted portrayal of a seemingly peaceful community and brings out its darkest as well as some of its brightest sides. This documentary is subtitled "A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life" which is quite an accurate description, but this is also a story about family relations, traumatic childhoods, grief, redemption, faith and love, where the possibility of hope is present even in the worst imaginable circumstances. The severity of the vile crime which stands at the center of this story is underlined by composer Mark Degli Antoni's efficient instrumental score which creates an unsettling and obscure atmosphere. This unsentimental, humane and at times humorous documentary which has some memorable interviews, is acutely directed by one of the most engaging and genuine storytellers in the history of cinema.


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'I think he was the most dangerous of anyone I ever met.' mgr2000
Did anyone else get bored after 30 minutes? professorhulk
Melyssa's Comment About Baby princess_of_pure_delight
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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