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