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The Act of Killing (2012)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 15,423 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 90 user | 226 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself - Executioner in 1965
Herman Koto ...
Himself - Gangster and Paramilitary Leader
Syamsul Arifin ...
Himself - Governor of North Sumatra
Ibrahim Sinik ...
Himself - Newspaper Publisher
Yapto Soerjosoemarno ...
Himself - Leader of Pancasila Youth
Safit Pardede ...
Himself - Local Paramilitary Leader
Jusuf Kalla ...
Himself - Vice President of Indonesia
Adi Zulkadry ...
Himself - Fellow Executioner in 1965
Soaduon Siregar ...
Himself - Journalist
Suryono ...
Himself - Anwar's Neighbor
Haji Marzuki ...
Himself - Member of North Sumatra Parliament (as Marzuki)
Haji Anif ...
Himself - Paramilitary Leader and Businessman
Rahmat Shah ...
Himself - Member of Parliament
Sakhyan Asmara ...
Himself - Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport
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Storyline

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 November 2012 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Az ölés aktusa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,450 (USA) (19 July 2013)

Gross:

$484,221 (USA) (28 February 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (TV) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The co-director, as well as 48 other members of the film crew in 27 different positions, are credited as 'Anonymous' because they still fear revenge from the death-squad killers. The 41-year-old Indonesian who shared directing credit with Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn, could only wonder, 'How could these people tell these horrible stories so lightly and so proudly? You just want to challenge them right away. But you have to keep telling yourself to be patient, to let them tell the story the way they like. Because then we can learn something about the whole system of destruction.' See more »

Quotes

Safit Pardede: We crushed their necks with wood. We hung them. We strangled them with wire. We cut off their heads. We ran them over with cars. We were allowed to do it. And, the proof is we murdered people and were never punished. The people we killed, there's nothing to be done about it. They have to accept it. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but it works: I've never felt guilty, never been depressed, never had nightmares.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Docventures: Väkivalta (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme for the Act of Killing
Composer: Karsten Fundal
Published by Edition Wilhlem Hansen
Performed by Clara Bryld, Andreas Estrup, Frederik Teige, Katinka Fogh Vindelev
Technician: Lars Falck
Recording Studio: Copenhagen Studios
See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely astounding
25 May 2013 | by (Wallis and Futuna) – See all my reviews

Watching this film should be mandatory for every man, woman, and child in the world.

I would leave it at that but IMDb has a minimum of 10 lines of text to prove you "mean business" with your review.

This film was utterly astounding in every sense, most importantly in the way it just lets a strange, inexplicable, simple truth emerge on its own. It is not a film that makes you feel better about the world or yourself, but rather one that makes you remember, oh yes, all this is real, and it really matters.

Without providing a spoiler, the final scene also underscores why documentaries are made, and the very real, very important things that utterly cannot be faked with all the acting, special effects, and make up in the world. Life is real.

--

I wanted to make one other note to my initial impression, since this film remains my favorite film of the year and possible of a several- year. It is worth highlighting the fact that Mr Oppenheimer spent a good eight or ten years of his life making this film, spending his life in Indonesia with a camcorder and progressively greater levels of logistical and technical help (from what has been made public about the film). Films like this don't get made in a year. Not at all.

It is worth reflecting on the connection between the time you invest in something, and what you get out of it, in our ever accelerating world. You get the same impression when you read, for example, one of the major novels of a couple centuries ago, but it is rare to see artistic works this big made anymore. War and Peace wasn't made in a year either. I somewhat feel for Mr Oppenheimer and the expectations that will precede his next work, whatever it is. Nothing like this will get made in the next two or three years, and that makes me the more grateful for this work.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anyone else hate the subtitles? SandersOnPPW
Oh, how we love to point fingers. . . to other murderers but ourselves. wzard999
I'm Indonesian and I find this disturbing wuhugm
Criminal that it didnt win an oscar magicninga
Where is the American involvement in this? celestemekent
What messages did you take away from this film? TheViewfromNowhere
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