Provocative, surreal and chilling

FESTIVAL REVIEWS. "The Act of Killing" caused a stir at Telluride Film Festival last weekend. Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary about genocide in Indonesia, excecutively produced by Erroll Morris and Werner Herzog, is now on show at the Toronto International Film Festival where critics call it "the nonfiction knockout of TIFF thus far".

Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary "The Act of Killing", where Indonesian death squad leaders re-enact their role in genocide, has attracted a great deal of attention among US critics after festival screenings in Telluride and Toronto.

"A surreal, chilling and unprecedented examination of atrocity and accountability, it’s difficult to think of another documentary—or piece of media—that so thoroughly captures a mass murderer’s conscience—as well as charting its evolution. And while it takes some time for 'The Act Of Killing' to get to its revelatory conclusion, the final pay-off is a stunner," writes Anthony Kaufman in Screen Daily. Read review

"By humanizing psychopathic behavior, 'The Act of Killing' is unparalleled in its unsettling perspective on the dementias associated with dictatorial extremes," writes Indiewire's Eric Kohn. Read review

"It seems safe to assume no other will prove more provocative this year. ... In an astonishing twist on past doc models, Oppenheimer invites the perpetrators to tell their own story, resulting in a chilling first-person account of evil," writes Variety's Peter Debruge. Read review

"The best, most daring and form-defying documentaries in the world right now are being funded by the Danish Film Institute, and so it goes that the nonfiction knockout of TIFF thus far is 'The Act of Killing' … 'Killing' uses performance and fictionalization to lay bare shocking truths about the flow of power in a third-world state, but Oppenheimer's moving, horrifying, ethically problematic film couldn't possibly have higher stakes," writes Karina Longworth of LA Weekly. Read review

"The Act of Killing" is directed by Joshua Oppenheimer and co-directed by Christine Cynn and Anonymous. The film is produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen from Final Cut for Real with support from the Danish Film Institute. International sales are handled by Cinephil. The film had a sneak preview at Telluride Film Festival and enjoyed its official world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in the weekend. See screening times at TIFF

Toronto International Film Festival