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The Act of Killing (2012)

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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.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 52 wins & 41 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 See more »


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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the killers featured here are so-called 'movie gangsters' who said their murders had been inspired by their love of John Wayne, Marlon Brando, or Mafia and American B-movies. See more »

Quotes

Haji Marzuki - Member of North Sumatra Parliament: The Governor needs Pancasila Youth to maintain security. If he relies only on the police, it won't be secure. Gangsters can create both security and riots. We proved our potential when we exterminated the Communists. The people in power realized if they don't look after the thugs, it's dangerous!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Docventures: Väkivalta (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Burung Kakatua
Composer: Unknown
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User Reviews

 
Mindblowing In A Million Ways
8 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have *never* seen anything like The Act of Killing. It is a documentary of sorts about the Indonesian death squads who killed millions of 'communists' in the 60s. Director Josh Oppenheimer worked with the squad leaders to make a 'film' about their involvement any way they wanted to make it. The result is staggeringly, devastatingly honest. I watched almost the entire the film with my jaw on the floor and my heart in my throat.

The massacres are so impinged upon the collective consciousness of Indonesia, even today, that it appears to permeate every aspect of every person's life. These squad leaders are still feared and celebrated, and their actions are institutionally supported, so, as a result, they get to run around patting themselves and each other on the back for their atrocities. It's bizarre on the highest order, and, though I wouldn't have thought of it, there probably isn't a better way to treat the subject matter than the way this film does.

There are some scenes that are actually hard to watch, too real, even when they're not. Watching Chinese immigrant shop owners getting shaken down by gangsters for money was particularly sad, as was seeing confused, scared children cry ceaselessly after participating in hyper- realistic reenactments of massacres.

Too often, when it comes to documentaries, people implore, "you have to see this one," citing its social, economic, personal, governmental, or scientific importance. Well this film is one everyone should see. It's really hard to believe sometimes that people like these death squad leaders really exist and travesties like this really have and continue to happen.

This film absolutely blew my mind. It is unquestionably one of the very best documentaries I've ever seen.


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