The film has a strong narrative and takes on a big issue. This enough is to make the film outstanding. However everything else falls too weak: the film glorifies its villians, the arc line of regretful killer feels artificial and the film does very kittle to say something of its own. It feels as if it relies solely on its shock effect for the entire 2 hours.
Compelling perspective. Yet this is a film made by outsiders--westerners--looking in. Perhaps this film could only be made by westerners shocked by history of genocide. The characters & even killings seem isolated in time and there's a reluctant pull towards empathy. Yet there's still a trace of judgment based on western morals, which undermines the project of portraying Anwar et al. in themselves, as real & human.
The most brutal portrait of cognitive dissonance on screen I can imagine. Left me physically shaking in the cinema. I really think people need to see the director's cut, however, as the shorter edit really loses some of the impact. A picture of Hell, both inner and outer. It also manages, I think, to cover every one of Bill Nichols' categories of documentary in one brilliant, grotesque, lurid, horribly sad swoop.
Horrifying. Terrifying. The Act of Killing provides a glimpse into the mind of a seemingly brainwashed patriot. The unique perspective of people who have committed terrible atrocities was very disturbing and raw. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when watched this film; but prepare yourself for reflection if you choose to watch it. You will be forced to take a long, hard look at your neighbors.
A strong and not typical documentary, spliced with surreal psycho-moments to build a macabre atmosphere. A very strong ending, which shows the director breaking through his hero's psychological defense mechanism and coming to terms with the horror that has been committed. A film for the future.