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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

 
Artificially Spiritual
16 September 2013 | by David Baron (neuFleisch)See all my reviews

This documentary feels lost between a spiritual exploration of the consequences of death and an investigation of the events of a violent crime but fails in both aspects.

I really felt that the film didn't have a true focus and wandered into a plea against the death penalty but you could feel that the filmmaker doesn't understand the American mindset and questioned some of the protagonists with a certain layer of intellectual arrogance.

Herzog didn't seem to emerge himself into the culture of the south, his cold shots of the poor rural areas only seemed to be integrated to showcase the "lower class" status of his protagonists instead of giving a true sense of the culture.

So for a European filmmaker with a completely different cultural background, the subject matter of the death penalty must seem to a certain extend absurd & uncivilized but in the "wild west" inheritance of the American experience, executing a man for justice is embedded for centuries into the mindset of the United States.

Even if his questions seemed to want to probe the emotional state of his protagonists, he didn't seem to really want to understand the "why" the death penalty is considered an acceptable form of justice in the States.

And for that, I believe that this documentary feels judgemental instead of actually a 'document' of an event or of a complex cultural subject matter.


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