“I respect you but I don’t have to like you…,” director Werner Herzog says to one of the death row inmates in “Into The Abyss.” That powerful documentary, an insightful, moving look at the repercussions of a crime and the harrowing burden of a death sentence, was easily one of the most straighforward, un-Herzogian movies of his career. It’s also one of his best in quite some time. Good news arrived in December when it was announced that Herzog was headed to Berlin with even more on the subject with “Death Row: A Documentary Series In Four Parts” and now some images have arrived from the project.
The three hour plus documentary (which will be broken up into a series and shown on Investigation Discovery) will chronicle four more cases involving folks on death row: Linda Carty, found guilty of murdering Joana Rodrigues during a botched kidnapping attempt of her 3-year-old son; George Rivas and Joseph Garcia, who are currently serving multiple life sentences in a Texas maximum security prison; Hank Skinner, who claims innocence in the murder of his girlfriend and her two sons; and James Barnes, a convicted rapist and murderer.
Sounds fun, right? Well, believe us, while “Into The Abyss” is certainly heavy, it’s also profound and illuminating in unexpected ways, and Herzog gives equal voice to the authorities, the convicted, and the families of the victims. We’re definitely eager to see more. The Berlin Film Festival runs from February 9-19.