Critic Reviews

89

Metascore

Based on 30 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
The Guardian
It is a gut-churning film: and a radical dive into history, grabbing the past in a way a conventional documentary would not.
100
The Playlist
Presenting a terrifying view of a hidden holocaust and a moral apocalypse in which the most basic humanities have become twisted beyond recognition, The Act of Killing is a towering achievement in filmmaking, documentary or otherwise.
100
Village Voice
More terrifying than any horror film, and more intellectually adventurous than just about any 2013 release so far, The Act of Killing is a major achievement, a work about genocide that rightly earns its place alongside Shoah as a supreme testament to the cinema's capacity for inquiry, confrontation, and remembrance.
91
Playing make believe with murderers, Oppenheimer risks the possibility of empowering them. However, by humanizing psychopathic behavior, The Act of Killing is unparalleled in its unsettling perspective on the dementias associated with dictatorial extremes.
90
The resulting film is bizarre to the point of ­trippiness, yet it’s one of the most lucid portraits of evil I’ve ever seen.
88
Slant Magazine
In Joshua Oppenheimer's extraordinary The Act of Killing, film becomes the medium for a bold historical reckoning--and in more ways than one.
80
Never before has anyone made a documentary like The Act of Killing, and the filmmakers seem at a loss in terms of how to organize the many threads of what they capture...Still, essential and enraging, The Act of Killing is a film that begs to be seen, then never watched again.
80
You’ve never seen a documentary like The Act of Killing. If you saw too many like it, your hold on sanity might fray, which is not so much the film’s fault as that of its bloodcurdling subject. This movie is essential.
79
The most gut-wrenching 'making of' documentary ever made.
70
The project gave me pause. Although Oppenheimer has called it “a documentary of the imagination,” whatever that means, would a measure of investigation have spoiled it? We hear that Congo personally exterminated a thousand people. Does that figure stand up, and does it not matter more than his dawning remorse? There is no disputing that we are right at the heart of darkness, but around it is a larger body of evidence, which awaits another explorer.

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