Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog – 2012) A-

Very effective and a bit depressing. Herzog is obviously against the death penalty, he says as much. However he does not hammer us over the head with it or even argue his point at all. Instead he lets the individuals involved in the awful crime, victims, perpetrators, relatives and state officials do all the talking.  These testimonies are very effective and they really shed a lot of light on the intrinsic unfairness of the death penalty and the huge toll it exerts on those who have to administer it. An interview with a prison official is nothing short of heart breaking, not for those on death row as much as for him, the guy who has to deal with it every working day until his breaking point. As for the crime itself and the trial, well, it’s amazing that of the two who committed said crime and should be at least equally culpable one is on death row and one is not! the difference? A more sympathetic jury! Fact is, from my point of view, the guy who got the life sentence seems to be the more guilty one but he has a father (also in prison) who pleaded for his life. I’m going to avoid writing much about the crazy chick who’s in love with him too. Into the Abyss is probably not anyone’s idea of a good time at the movies but it deals with a sensitive subject in a very objective and competent way from a great film maker.


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