The Act of Killing

Nightmares on Acid

As the director cites in an interview with Vice, in Indonesia in 1965, there was a right-wing military coup-d'état, where the military rounded up any opposition to the new dictatorship, and executed a million or more people using civilian death squads. The paramilitary and mafia leaders who enacted these atrocities are still in power, and the decision to really pursue this documentary film relates to Oppenheimer’s observation that these people boast their violence as glorious. As if taking a huge bet on their boastfulness, the director gives a selection of ex-death squad members a chance to retell their story through a dramatization, knowing that their pride would lead him to the heart of the conflict, which has been one of the biggest mass executions in human history.