The Look Of Silence (2015) [Review]

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Joshua Oppenheimer’s Act of Killing showed the mortifying re-enactments of the executions of suspected communists that took place in 1960’s Indonesia. The people who carried out these horrific acts are celebrated heroes, feared in their local villages, and it’s within Oppenheimer’s Act of Killing that we meet the people responsible as they carry out the re-enactments.

In The Look of Silence, an optician who has a direct link to the genocide through a deceased family member is shown watching the first documentary, then interviewing the men himself under the pretence of an eye exam. Probing personal questions add another layer of sheer disbelief to the previous instalment, in this simple yet fascinating documentary.

People underestimate just how scary documentaries can be. You turn to horror films for your scares because you want to be detached from reality for a brief moment, maybe to see something supernatural and get the heart-racing. Much like the documentary before this, there is a genuine residual sickening feeling throughout this film. There is no big budget or back catalogue of archival footage; it is just individuals recounting stories of how they killed innocent people.

How they cut off limbs, drank their blood, tore off private body parts and chucked them all in the river. They actually did this to people, and are alive to laugh about it now. There is an air of chilling nonchalance to the way in which they describe these events, and I have no doubt that you will sit there with the same horror on your face as the Indonesian man who had his brother slaughtered; The Look of Silence.

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7 responses to “The Look Of Silence (2015) [Review]

  1. This was such a hard watch for me. It was part of a 3-a-night Oscar docu screening and was the 2nd of the 3..I watched people walk out within 20min. & might sound silly, but I had to put the popcorn down..couldn’t stomach it while this was happening.. good movie..but so so terribly sad.

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    • It’s pretty dark. It completely killed my vibe when I watched it, and put me off watching anything afterwards. I wouldn’t walk out though. I don’t get walkouts – as if time is that valuable or it’s that offensive that you can’t stay until the end… it’s not an Adam Sandler movie.

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      • I can’t say I can put blame on those that did. Some of us are more sensitive than others..especially on such a subject matter that this was.. It’s not an Adam Sandler pic – which is so easy to walk out of..but it made me queasy also..so I don’t fault them in the slightest..I don’t think that’s right to put them down as I don’t the the reasoning was their time was to valuable.. it was simply..just to hard of a watch for some.

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      • Fair enough. It wasn’t meant as a negative judgement and I appreciate some get triggered by different things.

        I’m of the opinion that if something makes you feel uncomfortable or sick within a documentary context and it is portrayed correctly, then you should sit through it for those that were directly involved to feel/understand a fraction of what they went through.

        Still, lets not get off topic. It’s a great documentary and everyone should see it, but should perhaps come with a warning!

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  2. Definitely agree on a warning.. I wasn’t prepared for it at all.. had no idea it was going to be that hard core. I followed it with What Happened Miss Simone which was in a way a relief after this one.. I tend not to look up to much of what a films about before I see it..or why bother to see it if I know all about it. I was prepared for Cartel Land which was also hard, but for me the best one of the year..though I did like Amy also..

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  3. Powerful documentary. We need more docs like this. It was unbelievably horrific and brutally honest. Its refreshing to watch something so uncensored but confusing as to why the killers are still walking around. I used to want to go to Indonesia once.

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