Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life

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Into the Abyss: a Tale of Death, a Tale of Life

Werner Herzog (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
German film-maker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Aguirre, Wrath of God) takes another journey into the darkness of the human soul with this deeply thought-provoking documentary about an American triple murder and its consequences. Although he opposes capital punishment, Herzog remains generally unbiased, delivering a forensic and philosophical examination of the 2001 Texan case that snowballed from an intended car theft and left one of the two teenage perpetrators, Michael Perry, sentenced to death. Via incisive, and occasionally surreal, off-camera probing, a compassionate Herzog draws profundity, candour and even humour from the most unexpected sources, as he interviews those affected by the horrifically pointless crime - including devastated family members on both sides, and the eight-days-away-from-execution Perry - along with those involved in the state killing process. These haunting testimonies, with their poignant litany of tragedy, poverty, hopelessness and regret, hit harder than the grisly police footage also incorporated, and force viewers to face complex questions about society, justice and the sanctity of life.


Premiere. Werner Herzog's documentary examining capital punishment in America through the story of one case, a murder in rural Texas for which one perpetrator was sentenced to death. The condemned man, who was days from execution at the time of filming, his accomplice, the families and friends of the victims, local policemen and prison officials all share their side of the story.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Werner Herzog
Director Werner Herzog

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: RevolverAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 30 Mar 2012