[This review is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival]
Director Werner Herzog is against the death penalty, supposedly feels sympathy for families of the victims, and asks bizarre questions when doing an interview. I have now summed up Into the Abyss, Herzog’s forgettable documentary that half-heartedly tries to be anti-death penalty propaganda and will change the minds of no one. Herzog constantly undermines his argument by glossing over the details of the murder case he’s exploring, and getting into odd tangents with whatever subject he finds most interesting at any given moment. More than making a case against the death penalty or even acknowledging the complicated feelings of the accused, their families, and the families of the victims, Into the Abyss casts Herzog as a tragedy vampire, sucking the drama out of the lives of others while offering nothing in return.