Saturday, April 14, 2012

Into the Abyss (2011)

Director: Werner Herzog. 107 min. Rated PG-13. USA/UK/Germany. Documentary.

Capital punishment. Which side are you on? Herzog's latest compelling documentary will force you to take a side. From the very beginning he makes it clear he's against the death penalty, but then through documented police footage and numerous interviews, narrates how two teenagers brutally killed three family members to steal their red Camaro, how one was condemned to death in 2010, and how this affected the lives of all involved. Beware: some aspects people provide here will haunt you for some time. If I had seen this earlier, it would have taken a spot in my top 10 of 2011.

Mo says:



  1. Agree absolutely! after 10-12 days I can't escape of some images of movie , like a happy face of a young man who is gonna die in less 8 days and his words about the heaven and lord ... or seeing a criminal family in the prison who seem so ordinary like people in the street and how hard to see a survival is saying that she took a easy breath when her mother&brother's killer was executed...I still don't know what should I judge...Herzog forced me to take side but I still can't !

  2. I found the most disturbing interviews the one with the father in jail (who looked like any ordinary person, or even a nice gentleman), and the one with the prison Captain who oversaw the executions for years (and looked like he was spiritually destroyed). At the end, I would still side with capital punishment, exactly for the reason the sister said: giving a sense of calm to the family's victims, and giving others hope that this person won't ever be able to do what he/she did again.

  3. I used to be strongly in favour of capital punishment but not any more. A life sentence for murder should mean life with no parole. I don't suppose I would feel the same if a member of my family or a close friend was murdered. I have some old aunts who think murderers should be tortured to death! Perhaps it should be left up to the victims next of kin?

    This was a powerful documentary that keeps Herzog at the pinnacle of his craft.

  4. I believe in capital punishment, mainly for the reason you mention: I can't imagine what the family of the murdered victim are going through - especially if the victim is a child.

    Agree that the film shows when it comes to documentaries, Herzog has definitely still "got it". When I look back, I still think how on many ways a documentary on such a controversial subject could have gone wrong, and how Herzog expertly manages to get through all the pivotal turn points.