Heroes as Killers or Killers as Hereos?

Author: Laurie J. Sears | University of Washington


A viewer comes away from watching The Act of Killing (TAOK) with very mixed emotions and thoughts. My initial reaction was discomfort at having spent time with violent and dangerous thugs who one would hope never to meet in life. Reflecting on the film is difficult at first because it has layers upon layers of storyline. Did director Joshua Oppenheimer fool the thugs into making the movie he wanted, or did they fool him into making a movie that made them more sympathetic than they ever should be?

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