Into the Abyss

(2011)

Genres: Crime, Documentary

Roger's Office: Into the Abyss

Transcript for Roger's Office: Into the Abyss

Roger Ebert: 

“Into the Abyss" is the saddest film Werner Herzog has ever made, and one of the best. This is Bill Kurtis speaking for Roger Ebert. The documentary centers on two young men from Conroe, Texas, one is on Death Row, the other serving a life sentence. There is no reason to pity them. They were responsible for murders distinguished by their stupidity. Herzog talks with them in prison.
 
He also meets a "Death Row Groupie."
 
They committed senseless murders to steal a car belonging to the family of a guy one of them knew.
Herzog is fascinated by the idea of knowing the date, time and place of your own death. Was a car--was anything--worth it?
 
Herzog's off-camera voice quietly asks questions that are factual, understated, and simply curious.  One of his subjects speaks only days before his scheduled execution. Everyone in the movie explain that what happened was part of God's plan. Herzog seems fascinated by the banality of their worlds.  This is a great movie.  Thums up.
 
IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY: Thanks, Roger.  Now, now I like this movie a lot.
 
CHRISTY: I did, too.
 
IGNATIY: Um, I took away something different from I think what Roger took away from it.
 
CHRISTY: Okay.
 
IGNATIY: Um, to me it’s a very, very sympathetic film.  I mean Herzog says at the very beginning of the film.  He says it at the outset that he is against capital punishment.
 
CHRISTY: Right.
 
IGNATIY: He says that it is a horrible thing to do to a human being.  I mean these people are not…they’re not likable.  They commit this incredibly brutal murder.  It’s clear that one of them is guilty, but both of them in prison still maintain their innocence, and they blame it on…
 
CHRISTY: But he doesn’t judge anybody here.
 
IGNATIY: But he doesn’t judge anybody. 
 
CHRISTY: Right.
 
IGNATIY: Exactly.
 
CHRISTY: He let’s them tell their stories. Right.
 
IGNATIY: He let’s them tell their stories, and what he does really well in this film is he builds up the sense that killing in any situation is always a horrible thing.
 
CHRISTY:  He’s also just an excellent storyteller because he’s an excellent reporter like he listens in the moment in the conversation and knows to ask that natural follow up, and that is the question that often brings up the  most raw emotion that maybe they’re not even prepared to come up with themselves.
 
IGNATIY: I mean emotionally this is really effective
 
CHRISTY: It is.