Catching Up With: Into The Abyss 2011 #Documentary

It's been on my radar for a while, but due to the grimness of Into the Abyss by genius Werner Herzog about the doomed fate of homicide convicts I put it off for a while.

Even though it is grim, this award-winning documentary currently on Netflix is sublime. It is no frills editing and shooting, the fonts are simple and raw, lots of text goes by quickly, blotted on the screen like a police blotter in splotchy black. Herzog's questioning is invasive, accented, strange, often times seemingly from the viewer's own point of view, much like the camera work, which alternates between beautifully shot interviews surrounded by eerie nature and well edited police video.

The interviews, very few of them (in quantity not time spent), ramble on, but invariably strike many chords, crescendo, go hard core. Criminals all lie, but even when they do in this film, they are heard. When they go silent, Herzog prods them into deeper and deeper territory, much like the relatives and friends of the victims or perpetrators, whose magnified horror stories are unbelievable as well.

Herzog is the foreigner who descends on a corner of Texas and shows that life in the richest country in the world can indeed be sordid. The film begins and ends with extremely powerful quotes, with the powerless chaplain of last rites and the repenting executioner. And the unexpectedly strangest character is the convict groupie who after first being pen pals, and then seeing a full rainbow together, will perpetuate her incarcerated husband's sad lineage by allegedly inseminating herself with smuggled out semen.

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