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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence documentaries review: when horror doesn’t destroy humanity

by MaryAnn Johanson

The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence green light

Piercing insights into the minds of murderers, and then astonishing generosity from those left behind. Deeply despairing, then restores a bit of hope.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of The Look of Silence for its representation of girls and women.


The Act of Killing (2013)
green light 5 stars

The Look of Silence (2015)
green light 4.5 stars

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The Act of Killing (2013)
US/Canada release date: Jul 19 2013 | UK release date: Jun 28 2013

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (contains graphic descriptions of torture & killings & strong sex references)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes
The Look of Silence (2015)
US/Canada release date: Jul 17 2015 | UK release date: Jun 11 2015

MPAA: rated PG-13 for thematic material involving disturbing graphic descriptions of atrocities and inhumanity
BBFC: rated 15 (graphic descriptions of killings and torture)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • halavana

    reviews of this type are a major reason I decided to subscribe. Thank you.

  • I’m glad you like the review — and that you subscribe! — but can I ask you to clarify: What do you mean by “reviews of this type”? Documentaries? More than one film in a review? Something else?

  • halavana

    reviews of this type: thoughtful, not condescending, reasonable, honest opinion. covers most of your reviews that I’ve read. I might not agree with everything you write, but your reviews give a clear impression of what to expect.

  • halavana

    plus, I’m biast. ;)

  • Yes, I think you might be. :-)

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