|THE LOOK OF SILENCE (director: Joshua Oppenheimer; cinematographer: Lars Skree; editor: Niels Pagh Andersen; Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Signe Byrge Sorensen; Drafthouse Films & and Participant Media.; 2014-Denmark-Indonesia-Norway-Finland-U.K-in Indonesian and Javanese, with English subtitles)|
the victims instead of the criminals."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer ("The Act
of Killing"/"The Entire History of The Louisiana
Purchase") films a companion piece documentary to
his hard-hitting The Act of Killing (2012). This
time he focuses on the victims instead of the
criminals. The film revolves around Adi, a
mild-mannered 44-year-old Indonesian optician, who
needs to learn who killed his older brother Ramil and
why during a purge of some one-million Communists in
the country back in 1966. He hopes the family can have
closure when the whole truth is revealed. Adi was born
a few years after the massacre took place, as we learn
that there was a military coup in 1965 and a military
dictatorship took control.
discloses the country's misdeeds, its cover-up, its
continual misleading propaganda and the country's
failure to still come to grips with its shadowy past.
interviews by Adi and the filmmaker with those who
acted as torturers and were responsible for the older
brother's death are hard to watch without feeling the
pain of all the innocent victims. How a government can
act in so dehumanizing a manner is one of the still
unanswered modern-day questions. The hope here is by
revealing the truth such tragedies will not happen
The sobering, straight-forward and well-investigated film serves well as a history document on the face of evil. How influential it will be is iffy, since it is preaching to the choir and unlikely to reach a wide audience despite being such a praise-worthy effort.
REVIEWED ON 10/29/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ