What You Need To Know:
Emotional, moving and deeply disturbing, THE LOOK OF SILENCE is a much better movie than THE ACT OF KILLING, which is almost too odd and unbearable in places. At times, the man searching for answers and interviewing his brother’s killers offers forgiveness to the family of one of the killers. However, the descriptions of their methods of murder are awful and incredibly sad. Because of this, Movieguide® advises extreme caution for the documentary THE LOOK OF SILENCE.
(B, C, H, FR, L, VV, S, N, MM) Light mixed pagan worldview with light moral, redemptive, humanist elements and some false religion, such as man seeks to uncover the hidden genocide that took place in his country’s history, man offers forgiveness to the people who murdered his brother’s family, the repercussions of Islam’s war culture are self-evident, and references to prayer and God, though the people who spoke it are likely Muslims; three profanities; brutal, graphic and disgusting descriptions of deaths that include mutilated body parts described in full detail; brief discussion of sex; upper male nudity; no alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, men try to excuse their murder and crimes.
THE LOOK OF SILENCE is a follow up documentary to the acclaimed 2013 movie THE ACT OF KILLING about the Indonesian killings of 1965-1966 where the army started a revolution and allowed mafia killers to murder one million people who were supposed communists.
In THE ACT OF KILLING, the murderers were interviewed and asked to recreate some of the killings they did. In THE LOOK OF SILENCE, a middle-aged Indonesian man watches the footage that documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer filmed where the mafia-like men discuss murdering his brother Ramli back in the 1960s.
On the footage, the men describe killing Ramli in graphic gory detail, and even visit the riverside site where they murdered him, recalling the events with glee and joy. As he watches, the brother now living is left unnamed, for safety reasons. He discusses the events that took place with his elderly parents and tracks down the mob leaders who killed his brother and countless others. On camera, the man confronts them about their crimes and killings, and tells them his brother was one of the victims. Uncomfortably, most of them excuse their actions and deny any wrongdoing.
THE LOOK OF SILENCE is a much better movie than THE ACT OF KILLING, which is almost too odd and unbearable in places. Emotional, moving and deeply disturbing, THE LOOK OF SILENCE tries to reconcile and acknowledge the events that took place, even when so many wish to ignore the genocide. For the most part, the movie stays out of politics entirely and mainly addresses the emotional scars left on the families who lost loved ones to the brutal military dictatorship.
Beautifully shot and very well edited, THE LOOK OF SILENCE may be one of the year’s most intriguing documentaries. At times, the man searching for answers and interviewing his brother’s killers offers forgiveness to the family of one of the killers. It’s a touching moment. At another point, one of the murderers claims Muhammad never killed anyone, but according to historical fact, that’s not true, and, according to the Muslim book, the Qur’an, it’s appropriate to kill your enemies. The descriptions of their methods of murder are some of the most vile things you’ll hear. Because of this, Movieguide® advises extreme caution for THE LOOK OF SILENCE, which also contains brief foul language.