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TIFF11: “Into the Abyss” is Werner Herzog’s Horror Documentary Based in a Texan Tragedy

TIFF11: "Into the Abyss" is Werner Herzog's Horror Documentary Based in a Texan Tragedy

Werner Herzog is against the death penalty. He has no problem letting it be known, and his stated reasoning is Nazi Germany, into which he was born. While presenting his new documentary, “Into the Abyss,” partly about a Texas Death Row inmate, at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, he told the crowd, “No one from my generation, none of my peers, is for capital punishment. It’s as simple as that.”

Simple, but perhaps problematic. I can’t find any comment from the legendary German filmmaker about the death sentences of the Nazi war criminals themselves, but I guess it’s really not too pertinent to this new film anyway. While it’s giving Herzog an opportunity to declare his side on the issue, I don’t accept that the doc is a message film, and it certainly isn’t a great argument for the abolishment of the death penalty in Texas or elsewhere, if Herzog does mean for it to be.

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“Into the Abyss” is now playing in limited release.

Recommended If You Like: Werner Herzog; “The Thin Blue Line”; “In Cold Blood”

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