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

  • Documentary
  • 2011
  • Werner Herzog
  • 105 mins
  • 12A

Summary

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.

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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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.

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Credits

Cast

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NarratorWerner Herzog

Crew

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DirectorWerner Herzog

Details

Theatrical distributor
Revolver
Released on
2012-03-30
Language
English
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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