You’d presume a documentary would have to be a little out there to attract the endorsement of both Werner Herzog and Errol Morris — and based on early reviews and its chilling trailer, The Act of Killing appears to be just that. The film centers on Anwar Congo, leader of one of the Indonesian death squads that, in 1965, executed thousands — up to a million, the numbers vary — of alleged Communists. Congo and his brethren weren’t punished; they’re celebrated. “War crimes are declared by the winners,” he explains, and “I am a winner.” Director Joshua Oppenheimer approaches the story from a bizarre angle: he invites Congo to oversee filmed recreations of his crimes, creating an examination not only of murder, but of how we view it. Here’s the trailer; it looks astonishing.
The Act of Killing is out July 19.