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Into the Abyss (2011)

PG-13 | | Documentary, Crime, Drama | 30 March 2012 (UK)
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Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.

Director:

Werner Herzog
2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

USA | UK | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 March 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

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

Filming Locations:

Conroe, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,559, 13 November 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$216,262, 18 December 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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. Like the hummingbirds. Why are there so many of them.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

End Credits and Incidental Music
(untitled) Composer: Mark Degliantoni.
SEBASTIAN STEINBERG - guitars and contra bass.
LISA GERMANO - violins.
DAVID BYRNE - guitar.
PETER BECK - winds.
COLIN STEVENS - instrument designs.
MARK DEGLIANTONI - keyboards and percussion.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Haunting Herzog
18 March 2012 | by DamnYouGoogleSee all my reviews

Into the Abyss is Herzogs most haunting piece since his 1979 remake of Nosferatu and to me, it would appear to be his most personal work to date. Herzog has always been an outspoken warrior against capitol punishment, so I assumed this would be preachy, overstated, and direct. To my surprise this is one of the most understated documentaries on death row inmates and those around them I have ever had the pleasure of watching.

Centering around the homicides committed by two Texas youths over a car in the early 2000's and the consequences felt by all the people involved, Into the Abyss isn't about guilt or innocence, nor is it about wrong or right. Into the Abyss is about staring the reality of it all in the face.

Herzog leaves no stone unturned as he interviews the perpetrators, the victims families, the wife and father of one of the prisoners, the prison chaplain, a series of acquaintances, the police captain, and a retired prison guard that was once the modern day equivalent of the town executioner. None of whom dwell on the deaths of those killed or the upcoming death of Micheal Perry (the inmate that was given death) but life after the events. How their worlds were effected is the topic and even though Herzog states clearly he opposes the death penalty he never harps on it.

The subjects that are interviewed were obviously hand picked with care and it all amounts to an eerie retrospect on how the world misses the big picture when it comes to taking the life of another for crimes they have committed. Easily the most jaw dropping documentary of the young 2010's decade. I cant think of another film that got me so emotionally involved while seemingly dancing around the main subject. Herzog has done it again, but I cant call it triumphant. No, Into the Abyss isn't a triumph at all. It is an epic tragedy that should be watched by those both pro and anti capitol punishment.


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