The Act of Killing

This was really an interesting documentary, for several reasons:

The politics

Its amazing how much you can hate communists, I thought Americans back during the cold war really hated Communists, but Indonesia took it to another level. First of all, I will admit that I had no idea that Indonesia was such a pro democracy country, so this is definitely a learning experience for me. What is horrifying is that America actually supported this (since it was supporting their fight against communism), even though what the gangsters in this country were doing was completely inhumane (raping, killing innocent people and children). They even placed their leaders on a pedestal for doing this.

It seemed to me that the government looked for people like Anwar, guys who had no regard for human life, and would not feel the emotions of killing someone (which is kind of related to the topic of American Sniper, where Chris Kyle was the same way in a sense, he did what ever he needed to do for his country, much like Anwar).

Also the government in power now, still does not see anything bad in what they did in the past, in fact they actually brag about the killings. This right away tells you how corrupt the current government is (even during his speech he was proud of the murders). Also his blowjob comment regarding a girl further cemented how much of a character-less person the leader of the country was (imagine Obama making a sexual comment like that?!!).

Whats even more funny is that the government actually tried banning this film (WHICH COMPLETELY GOES AGAINST THE PRINCIPLE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY), but they actually could not since they are “supposed” to be fully capitalistic .

One of the scariest moments was at the end when one of the gangsters (back in the day) is just shopping with his family casually, even though we just found out all the people he murdered. It was a truly horrifying scene, because as he is shopping with his daughter and wife, he is talking about him killing many people and how he chopped off people’s heads. But this again brings up the topic of the government brainwashing people. These killings and tortures are also done by U.S. soldiers (American Sniper). One country’s hero is another country’s terrorist (such as Chris Kyle, what he is to the American public versus the Iraqi public). Similarly Chris Kyle also excelled in the army because that is what the US army looks for as their ideal candidates for joining the army, people  who did not reflect back and have no hesitation in killing the “enemy”, which is what the Indonesian government did, by hiring “gangsters” to do their dirty work for them. They even admit this in the film, when the owner of the paper printing media company (also highly part of the political system in Indonesia) is talking, he says how he would never do the dirty work himself, which is why he hires gangsters (guys like Anwar) to do it for him.

Style of Documentary

The style was really nice for this documentary, it is actually the classic style of documentary, where the director steps back and lets locals and everyone else give him advice, the director is merely the observer. Which is nice to see because you rarely see this type of classic documentary directing anymore, you always see the new type (where the director is in charge and enforces his views and style onto the film).

Also the fact that the director wanted create a “Hamlet” like style of presentation, having a play inside of a play (the gangsters were the directors and actors) was very cool and unique, very entertaining to watch.

Main conclusion

I enjoyed how the director showed the end result of all these murderings, and how the effect was different for everyone. Such as the guy shopping in the mall, he had no problems sleeping at night, because he felt that he did nothing wrong. Whereas guys like Anwar, have nightmares at night now, for all the killings he did in the past (exactly what happens to Chris Kyle in American Sniper).

Overall great documentary.


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