Read what critics have been saying about POV’s documentary The Act of Killing, then watch it free right now on the POV website or mobile apps! (U.S. Only)

Read what critics and journalists have to say about POV’s The Act of Killing.

“Startling. . . . blending the horrific and the absurd in a disturbing cocktail. . . . it destabilizes our sense of the boundary between make-believe violence and its real-world counterpart. . . . Hannah Arendt’s  observation about the ‘banality of evil’ is given a chilling postmodern twist.”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“May be one of the most horrifying films you’ll ever see, and one of the most edifying. . . . The Act of Killing speaks to the eternal question of what sort of person can visit such pitiless violence on his fellow man— and, by extension, the question of what sort of species we are.”
Joe Morganstern, The Wall  Street Journal

“This audacious, horrifying, boldly experimental plunge into the mind-set of murderers and the culture of impunity breaks so many rules of documentary decorum. . . .  A must-see. . . . The Act of Killing is a brilliant, powerful reckoning with the wages of history, mendacity and denial.”
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

“A mind-bending film, devastating and disorienting, that disturbs us in ways we’re not used to being disturbed, raising questions about the nature of documentary, the persistence of evil, and the intertwined ways movies function in our culture and in our minds.”
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times

“In The Act of Killing, director Joshua Oppenheimer pulls off the impossible: He confronts great, incomprehensible evil and puts a human face on it.”
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

“One of the most extraordinary films you’ll ever encounter, not to mention one of the craziest filmmaking concepts anywhere.”
Janice Page The Boston Globe

Guy Lodge, Variety

“Bizarre, hypnotic, audacious.”
James Adams, The Globe and Mail

“One of the brashest, strangest, most downright surreal films of recent years. . . . The POV airing is not to be missed.”
Michael Giltz, The Huffington Post

“Exemplary as a history lesson, a character study and a powerful argument for confronting the past.
Marc Mohan, The Oregonian

“A reflection on journalism, voyeurism, complicity and violence, The Act of Killing is pretty amazing.”
Joe Gross, Austin American Statesman

“No documentary in recent years has had a greater impact on both the public and filmmakers.”
Larry Rohter, The New York Times

“The most unsettling movie about mass killing since Shoah.”
Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Eye-opening both as a radical development in the documentary form and as an explosive journalistic exposé. . . . A deeply disturbing emotional experience . . . it is also poetic, funny, profoundly strange and moving.
Tom Charity,

“When Werner Herzog says a film is the most frightening and most surreal he’s seen in at least a decade, you know need to steel yourself. He’s right. . . . almost every frame is astonishing.”
Catherine Shouard, The Guardian

“Oppenheimer keeps the film focused on the highly complicated Anwar— a charismatic devil if ever there was one. . . .  The emotional places this troubling movie takes him to are rewardingly primal and potent, forcing both subject and viewer to wrestle with internal demons.”
Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“A masterpiece about propaganda, cinema and vanity as instruments of power and terror. . . . The visual and aural rhythms feel as if Oppenheimer is slowly, carefully climbing a mountain of lament and shame.”
Steven Boone,

“By tackling one man’s sense of right and wrong (or lack thereof), Oppenheimer is ultimately tackling human nature.”
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club

“The shock of the final scene must be left unspoken; suffice to say its impact exceeds even the nightmarish queasiness which this brilliant and horrible film has striven to contain.”
Anthony Quinn, The Independent

“More terrifying than any horror film, and more intellectually adventurous than just about any 2013 release so far. A major achievement, a work about genocide that rightly earns its place alongside Shoah as a supreme testament to the cinema’s capacity for inquiry, confrontation, and remembrance.”
Nick Schager, The Village Voice

“Bizarre to the point of trippiness, yet it’s one of the most lucid portraits of evil I’ve ever seen.”
David Edelstein, New York Magazine (Vulture)

“You’ve never seen a documentary like The Act of Killing. If you saw too many like it, your hold on sanity might fray. . . . This movie is essential.”
Tim Robey, The Telegraph

“Horrifying and riveting.”
Steve Pond, The Wrap

“Remarkable. . . . A gut-churning film and a radical dive into history, grabbing the past in a way a conventional documentary would not.”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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Published by

POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.