The Act of Killing
Last weekend, I watched "The Act of Killing," which is pretty much one of the most astounding movies you will ever see. Usually, in a movie built on surprise or fear or astonishment, it's a roller coaster ride of emotion: sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down. I was gobsmacked from beginning to end. My jaw was unhinged. My eyes were round. Is this really happening? Did he just say that? Is this real? Yes, it is. In short, the film follows a group of executioners as they revisit the crimes of their past, but they do so in a world that glorifies their murderous histories. In a way, it reminded me of being on a porn set where something considered very "not normal" by society is considered very "normal" in this otherworld. In the case of porn, people are having sex for money while someone films it. This is all very of course. This is all very no big deal. You see the same throughout "The Act of Killing," when a man dances where he has killed people with wires around their necks, and a neighbor talks about finding his dead father under a barrel, and a man recounts raping teenage girls. It is very easy to think of them as Other. But are they? In America, killers are heroes.