Friday, November 18, 2011
Into the Abyss
The best thing about doing what I do, watching so many movies day in and day out, is that you get to step into so many different shoes and experience life through so many varied subjects. Just a few days ago I was at the top of the world as one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in America in 'Margin Call'. And tonight I was at rock bottom, seeing the world through the eyes of a real man on death row with only eight days to live.
In this tragic documentary from Werner Herzog ('Grizzly Man', 'Encounters at the End of the World', 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'), Herzog interviews the men responsible for killing three innocent people. They broke into a gated community, killed an ordinary woman in her own home, and then murdered her son and his friend just so that they could steal a car. Three people lost their lives over a f---ing car! The murderers were only teenagers at the time, and now it's ten years later and one of them is serving a 40 year sentence in prison and the other is on death row and scheduled to die just eight days after this interview with Herzog. It's hard not to take this movie seriously. You get an up close and personal interview with the convicted murderers, the family of the victims and of the killers, and a death row employee. It makes you think and it makes you feel, mainly about life and death.
This is a well made doc that doesn't shove a death penalty agenda down your throat, but rather let's you decide what to think. Nevertheless I just can't recommend rushing out to the theater to see it unless you're a real Herzog buff or you have a dark side you need to feed. It's by nature a buzz kill. And that's what makes assigning it a grade so difficult. This is a specialty film for a niche audience. It can't really be compared to the other films in theaters now. And maybe that's the answer here. Don't see it in the theater on date night. This is a film that doesn't need to be seen on the big screen. It can wait for a home viewing, at a time when you're ready to feel bad and ready to think and ponder life and death. That is if you're the type of person who can appreciate this kind of viewing experience at all under any circumstances. I suspect not many are.