Critic Reviews

74

Metascore

Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Into the Abyss may be the saddest film Werner Herzog has ever made. It regards a group of miserable lives, and in finding a few faint glimmers of hope only underlines the sadness.
100
Herzog, as ever, is obsessed most of all with human nature: Into the Abyss explores our deepest urges to love, and live, and kill.
100
Into the Abyss makes a strong case for the inhumanity of capital punishment, regardless of the crime or the criminal.
90
Into the Abyss, which bears the subtitle "A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life," reveals itself to be an outlandish, compassionate and, at times, improbably buoyant film about life's capacity for grief and horror and about how it bubbles on miraculously in the face of such things. It's the best thing Herzog's done in years.
88
Into the Abyss is a true-crime drama, to be sure, but in Herzog's hands it becomes something much more: an inquiry into fundamental moral, philosophical, and religious issues, and an examination of humankind's capacity for violence - individual and institutional.
88
The overriding point of Into the Abyss, what keeps this sad, sorrowful film from becoming depressing and elevates it far above the usual chatter of liberal-conservative debate, is that there can be light on the other end of even the darkest of tunnels.
88
Werner Herzog looks at the death penalty in Into the Abyss, and as is almost always the case, to look through his eyes is to marvel.
88
What Herzog almost accidentally captures in his viewfinder is profound and unsettling: an entire American underclass where at least some prison time is the norm and where only luck and the grace of God keep a person from either wrong end of the shotgun.
80
But above all it's a portrait of stunned grief, of the devastation families endure, whether through violence, accidents, illness or incarceration.
60
The story is never less than gripping, but the most important questions disappear into that unbearably bleak abyss.
50
The film has the same moral design as "Dead Man Walking," but since it never gets inside the darkness of the killers' minds, it's really just a rambling episode of "A Current Affair."

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