8.2/10
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116 user 259 critic

The Act of Killing (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Crime | 8 November 2012 (Denmark)
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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.

Directors:

Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous (co-director) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 53 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

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

When killers win, when killers become heroes. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | Denmark | Norway

Language:

Indonesian | English

Release Date:

8 November 2012 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Actul de a ucide See more »

Filming Locations:

Medan, Indonesia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,450, 21 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$486,919

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$722,274
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Anwar Congo: It's a good family movie; plenty of humor; a great story; Wonderful scenery. It really show what's special about our country even though it's a film about death.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The name "Anonymous" appears 49 times under 27 different crew positions in the credits. This was done to protect the identities of those crew members who feared retribution from the former Indonesian death squad leaders. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 159-min version is the director's cut. It is the only version being released in Indonesia, and was released alongside the 115-min version in Danish cinemas. Compared to the shorter version, the 159-minute version reveals more of the filmmaking method and also explores the role of propaganda cinema in maintaining anti-communist fervor. The fiction scenes take over the film's form to the extent that ultimately the boundaries between fiction and documentary blur. In the final act, Anwar's descent in the long version is longer and more complex. See more »

Connections

Features The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Ayah
Composer: Rinto Harahap
© PT Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia
Courtesy of PT Mitra Kreasi Prima
See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely astounding
25 May 2013 | by zelena33See 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. That 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. 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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