I had been waiting for a chance to watch "Into the abyss" since it's debut at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival. Since it had a very limited theatrical release I had to wait until earlier this week so I could finally watch it.
"Into the abyss" is a documentary directed by renowned German director Werner Herzog (Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Grizzly Man) about two men convicted of a triple homicide in Conroe, Texas. The film follows Herzog as he interviews the murderers themselves, the relatives of the victims, friends and citizens of Conroe as well.
Perry claims his innocence claiming that he was already in Jail for another offense when the murders went down, blaming Burkett for the murders, while Burkett claims that while he was involved in the murders he didn't actually shoot or kill anybody.
I had several issues with this documentary which i will attempt to address in this review. The first one is Herzog's interviewing style; One would think that a murderer convicted to the death penalty would make for a pretty interesting interview, however Herzog is extremely stale during the interviews and asks questions that somehow don't feel relevant to the subject at hand or even worse he takes time away from the interviewees to make political statements that have no place in a documentary ("I respect you, you're a human being and i don't think human beings should be executed like that")
While the film touches on a very controversial subject, I feel like Herzog could've used other channels to express his point of view and not a documentary which is supposed to be truly neutral.
One thing I liked very much about this film is the fact that Herzog gives everyone a chance to speak their mind. There is a very touching part where he is interviewing Burkett's dad and he goes on to explain how he demanded a chance to speak on behalf of his son at his trial even though he was serving a 15-year sentence himself.
Fans of documentaries will definitely enjoy this one as it is the perfect example on how to shoot a documentary. Even though the subject matter is quite disturbing, Herzog manages to put togethter a beautiful documentary film that will give viewers an incredibly detailed overview of what happened that terrible night in a small Texan town.