Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Into the Abyss

I wanted to catch Werner Herzog's documentary Into the Abyss before it disappeared, so I saw it over the weekend in one of the shamefully small screening rooms at Opera Plaza. The movie centers around an interview with convicted murderer Michael Perry, filmed 8 days before he was executed in Texas. Mr. Perry seems amused by his circumstances & comes across as creepy. Grisly police videos & present-day visits to the crime scenes illustrate the senseless triple murder he committed. There are also interviews with accomplice Jason Burkett, who is serving a life sentence, & others touched by the crimes. Herzog excavates some odd corners, such as the freakishly calm young woman who met & married Mr. Burkett after he was incarcerated & who shows us an ultrasound of their unborn baby. An interview with a daughter of one of the victims grows increasingly disturbing as we learn of her family's tragic history & her satisfaction at witnessing the execution. However, the documentary is really Herzog's quiet rumination about the death penalty, & he is especially fond of the former death house captain who became sickened by his job.

§ Into the Abyss (2011)
Director: Werner Herzog 
USA, 106 Min

2 comments:

sfmike said...

Are you trying to become a saint, flagellating yourself in public with penances such as going to the smaller screening room of the Opera Plaza Cinema, which is a less optimum multimedia experience than my living room TV and sound system?

And for a Werner Herzog Texas death penalty doc to boot? I worry about you, Mr. T.

Axel Feldheim said...

You should definitely be worried about anyone with an interest in the films of Werner Herzog.

The Opera Plaza Cinema is ridiculous, & I usually refuse to see things there, so this is my punishment for not catching the movie when it was at the Embarcadero. I do not have a TV, so as long as the image is bigger than my laptop screen, I am impressed.