Monday, May 21, 2012

Tuesday Movie: Into the Abyss


Just as I prefer nonfiction to fiction when I pick out a book, I love documentary films, especially when they are about subjects that I find fascinating.  Let's face it, the truth is sometimes way stranger than fiction.  I know there are thousands out there who would love to argue that point with me, but let's just agree to disagree.

Which is good advice concerning the subject of this film.  It's about the death penalty and no matter which side of the fence you're on, I know I probably can't make you change your mind.  Not many people have given much thought to the death penalty because it's not something that concerns them in their day to day lives.  Heck, most people don't even want to contemplate their own mortality, so why should they care about some stranger?  I know that's callous sounding, but it's true.  So, I want you to be brave and just watch the film and see what happens.

Into the Abyss opens with Richard Lopez, a death row chaplain standing in Joe Byrd Cemetery talking about his job.  And then Mr. Herzog asks Lopez to talk about an incident with a squirrel.  You're probably thinking, huh?  I was too.  I also interviewed Mr. Lopez, but we didn't talk about furry woodland creatures.  Our talk was more about God and his (Lopez's not God's) presence during an execution. But, now that I've seen this interview, I think questions about squirrels might be the ticket!.

Okay, sorry for the digression. The film focuses on a murder that occurred in a small town in Texas.  Three people were killed.  The reason?  A car.  Herzog interviews the two men who committed the murders as well as the victim's family members. Both sides are given equal time. 

It is a slow film, but it is haunting.  I very much enjoyed Herzog's look into these people's lives.  He is a wonderful filmmaker.  Who else could make you think about life, death, and for a fleeting moment, squirrels?

If you've seen it, I'd love to hear what you thought about it. 

12 comments:

  1. The death penalty is so unsettling to my mind anymore that I really can't think a lot about it. I have always been passionately against the death penalty. Most of all it I believe it makes killers out of us all as the state kills in the name of the people. I can understand killing someone myself if they hurt someone I love. That would be a crime of passion. But to deliberately set out to execute a person is another story and overall I think it is demoralizing for the citizens. There are so many good arguments against it and there is no reason we can't keep certain people locked up forever.

    I've always wanted to write a post on the death penalty but felt I wouldn't want to have to deal with some responses I might receive. People have told me I'm brave for writing about religion but that's silly. Now the death penalty, that would take a lot of courage for me to write about. I should see this film.

    Thanks for bringing up this subject.

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    1. Hey Rubye!
      I've written a lot about the death penalty. If you search for Khristian Oliver or Larry Matthew Puckett on this blog, you'll see the posts. I didn't really knew how I felt about it until I met Khristian Oliver on the day he was executed. I couldn't believe how ritualized the execution process was.
      On a practical note, it costs way more to kill someone than it does to house them in maximum security for life.
      When I blogged about the death penalty for the Dallas Morning News' death penalty blog, I was attacked for my beliefs and I didn't like it. But, silence kills. If you don't talk about things, they don't go away.
      I too am going to write about religion for my next book. I guess I'm attracted to the things that make people uncomfortable.
      Thanks for commenting and let me know what you think of this film.

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    2. Maybe I will write about it. I've started a couple of times but always end up getting depressed. I tend to take myself too seriously. :)

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    3. Well, when you do write it, let me know and I'll link to it.

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    4. You did it! And fast! And there's great discussion over there on Rubye's blog. Check it out!
      http://blueskiessunnydays.blogspot.ca/2012/05/why-do-we-defend-it.html

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  2. That sounds really interesting. I'll have to see if it's on Netflix.
    I've also nominated you for The Beautiful Blogger Award.

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    1. It is on Netflix. That's how I watched it. Okay, what is the Beautiful Blogger Award?

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  3. That sounds so powerful. I'm glad you posted the trailer, Pam. I'm off to put it in our Netflix queue.

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    1. Don't forget the popcorn and the M&M's!

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  4. I haven't seen it, but the trailer is so enticing I want to see it as soon as possible. (And yes, even a thought-provoking documentary goes down better with popcorn and M&Ms!)

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Comments are welcome and appreciated!