Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss
Starring:
Documentary


Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 18, 2011 Released by: IFC Films

Werner Herzog's latest cinema verity has the kind of cunning, undidactic sensitivity to conciliate one's feelings when it comes to capital punishment - specifically in the U.S.
 
The maker of the strangely translucent Cave of Forgotten Dreams has an involving, interpretative quality through an examination into a notorious, horrific triple murder which occurred in Conroe, Texas in 2001. Michael Perry (who was executed last year) and Jason Burkett (serving a 40-year term) were the convicted culprits, as Herzog eerily through talking heads (including Perry just days before due process of law was served) which included Conroe residents and victim's relatives captures the aura of a seminal work like Harper Lee's In Cold Blood.
 
The details amount to something chilling and relevant from a crime of this magnitude from an investigating police officer and videos, but the execution hasn't made alleviated the effect on a community's effort to move forward. Herzog's means to elucidate provocative testimonies all around (as Burkett and Perry show rage for one another while maintaining their innocence) allows for loathing of heinousness in its many forms (though some may argue with he shares the view surrounding such a controversial issue).
 
Melyssa Burkett became Jason's spouse while in prison and became pregnant with conjugal visits prohibited, while Huntsville Death House head Fred Allen reveals his guilt. Shattering moments are felt in what Jason's incarcerated father Delbert relates in being far less than a model parent. Piercing integrity comes throughout the commentary of all, especially Lisa Stotler-Balloun who lost her brother and mother. A thoughtful (wake-up call) documentary never backs down from the ugliness that the most civilized of societies must deal with that goes all the way back in history (with supporters of death penalty including the religious right-wingers who came out big during the George W. Bush terms) with justice like the Hammurabi code.

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Into the Abyss        B+                  B+ 

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