Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog returns with INTO THE ABYSS: A TALE OF DEATH, A TALE OF LIFE, a riveting examination of a horrible crime which probes the human psyche to explore why people kill--and why the state kills. In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (who was scheduled to die eight days after his interview with Herzog), the filmmaker achieves what he describes as "a gaze into the abyss of the human soul." As he's so often done before, Herzog's investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.
Werner Herzog is upfront in his condemnation of capital punishment but surprisingly Into the Abyss is not merely a critique of the inhumane system, even if it does question its effectiveness as a tool of law enforcement and punishment. Instead it attempts to explore why people kill and the ramifications of those actions on all those involved. Herzog is thorough in investigating every story from those now on death row to the family and friends of both the victims and the perpetrators. Unsurprisingly, it is a difficult and sombre experience that illustrates the utter senselessness of the murders, broken homes and the devastation it has caused.
Given Herzog’s normally ‘hands-on’ documentary style it is surprising to see him keep a…
Into the Abyss came really close to being too much truth for me to handle. Herzog takes people who are probably the least deserving in the world of sympathy and somehow makes you sympathize with them. It's an extremely powerful and emotional look at the many dimensions and interpretations of a heinous crime. He shows all sides of the story, including the crime itself, returning to the scene of the crime and attempting to recreate the circumstances. Then he interviews everyone involved, from the perpetrators of the crime to the families of the victims to employees of the capital punishment system. It all comes together to be a poignant and impassioned plea to end the death penalty and preserve the right of every human to live.
No matter what your personal views on the issue, I bet you would find it hard not to feel at least some small inkling of sorrow for all the lives lost in this story.
Is there a more fascinating documentarian than Werner Herzog? A death row preacher begins a comparison between witnessing executions and pausing his golf cart to avoid small animals, and Herzog cuts him off to say "Please describe an encounter with a squirrel". He's one of those filmmakers whose sanity can never be certain, yet this madness is precisely what makes his films such engrossing experiences that pin you down with his "ecstatic truth" and force you to face the tough realities of life. What I dislike here is that he doesn't quite do that. By choosing not to include the same breed of extraordinarily dry-witted voiceover that worked so beautifully in Encounters at the End of the World and Grizzly…
Critically acclaimed German director Werner Herzog has spending more time recently delving into the human psyche as a documentarian, rather than a feature fiction work. His latest documentary, Into The Abyss, is his sixth feature doc in the last decade. And when those six include the highly praised Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams, expectations were high for his look at capital punishment in the US, focusing on a triple murder case in which one defendant was given a lift sentence, and the other the death penalty
The case in question is the triple murder of a mother, her stepson and his friend in a small Texas town in 2001 by a pair of teenagers, Jason Burkett, who received…
Into the Abyss is a very powerful documentary by Werner Herzog. This was in a sense almost a bit too real. By displaying the effects of capital punishment through the investigation and summary of a specific Texan murder crime, Herzog brings to light a very difficult and depressing issue. Herzog focuses on how each person involved is affected by the crime and the subsequent trials, imprisonment and capital punishment.
Herzog drags the viewer into the film. Being a documentary it is expected that the film is supposed to document real life, yet this film was very hard to watch. It is not very graphic physcially and it is not accusational. Herzog documents the happenings, and tries to bring about more…
A haunting film by Werner Herzog. 'Into The Abyss' lay down the material and the facts in such way that leaves the viewer thinking..
Is capital punishment right or wrong?
Insightful, deliberate and interesting. Another herzo documentary that captures you and makes you watch throughout.
This is basically about 2 people on death row and how they got there and what happens next. Herzog speaks to the murderers, victims, family members and people involved with the case.
The people in this film, without exception, cite God as a force in their lives. The killers, their relatives, the relatives of their victims, the police, everyone. God has a plan. It is all God's will. God will forgive. Their lives are in His hands. They must accept the will of the Lord. Condemned or bereft, guilty or heartbroken, they all apparently find comfort in God's plan. What Herzog concludes about their faith…
A truly excellent selection of interviews, which Werner Herzog seems to be able to extract from all kinds of people, really give life to this story. Although at times it seems as though Herzog is a tad pushy with his politics (against the death penalty), this isn't too much of an issue, and can be overlooked in the face of this great documentary.
A Herzog documentary with humanity and depth.
Abyss' is hurt by its predetermined sympathies but the demonstration of the scope and mass effect a single act has on the lives of every creed overcomes this pitfall. Volumes are spoken by Herzog letting his presence be felt by the camera and how long he allows it to sit on a subject (whether they're struggling with grief or uncomfortable about facing the truth about their questionable past) instead of relying on his voice.
"Γιατί ο Θεός επιτρέπει στο κράτος να τιμωρεί με θάνατο?" , ρωτάει η φωνή πίσω από την κάμερα. Γιατί ο ίδιος θεός επιτρέπει σε κάποιον άνθρωπο να βιάσει , να σκοτώσει , να διαλύσει οικογένειες, ρωτάω εξοργισμένος την ίδια στιγμή εγώ?
Πρόκειται για ντοκυμαντέρ που αφορά τις τελευταίες ώρες ενός μελλοθάνατου λίγο πριν περπατήσει το green mile. Ο σκηνοθέτης μας παρουσιάζει όλη την ιστορία από το έγκλημα με μαρτυρίες αστυνομικών και real police footage , τη σύλληψη , τη δίκη. Αλλά πάνω από όλα μας γνωρίζει τους ανθρώπους , τις -διαλυμένες όσο και τραγικές- οικογένειες ,τα θύματα αλλά και τους θύτες όσο πιο αποστασιοποιημένα μπορεί. Ενός θύτη που ακόμη και την τελευταία στιγμή αρνείται την ενοχή του ενώ όλα τα στοιχεία και οι μάρτυρες δηλώνουν το αντίθετο.
Ψυχοπλακωτικό -και πως να μην είναι- σε κάνει να αναρωτιέσαι τελικά για την ανθρώπινη φύση , όποια "πλευρά" και να διαλέξεις στο τέλος.
The greatest compliment one can give to a documentary is that it was effective enough to have changed your views on the issue it is presenting. Into The Abyss did just that.
It was actually kinda boring. The narration was annoying and couldn't stay on topic.
It would be easy to dismiss "Into the Abyss" as a Herzog's anti-capital punishment film, and it is quite obvious that Herzog is against it. However, the film is not about opposing public policy, but rather looking at a crime, and how it affects everyone, from the criminals themselves, their families, the families of the victims, in one case a new family that came as a result of the murders, friends and Conroe residents, and state officials who have to carry out executions. Each of the interviewees are given ample time to explain their relation to the story, and unlike "Grizzly Man", where he passes judgement on Timothy Treadwell, Herzog manages to stay fairly neutral when dealing with his subjects,…
I love Herzog. I enjoy a good depressing documentary too. This left me wanting more of both.
I liked the Prologue with the Chaplain talking about seeing the beauty of God while he golfs and saving the life of a squirrel.
I didn't really feel like the film was trying to say anything really. It sort of felt like just another death sentence case and here are the people effected by it. Eh...
Doesn't exactly hold up to something like Murder on a Sunday Morning, Brother's Keeper or Thin Blue Line.