Into the Abyss focuses on the crime and the aftermath of a triple homicide in Conroe, Texas, where Herzog and his crew traveled to gain perspective and insight on what happens to a prisoner once a murder conviction is obtained. Herzog interviews two young perpetrators of the Conroe crime, one of whom will spend the rest of his life in prison. The other was executed eight days after the Into the Abyss interview with the director. Itâ€™s a bleak, hard approach perfectly consistent with Herzogâ€™s worldview and his typically unflinching manner of getting to the heart of truths dark and terrible.
Those with a passion for the death penalty issue one way or the other will have something to say about Herzogâ€™s treatment of the subject, for sure. Opponents will no doubt find his treatment illuminating and compelling. Death penalty advocates â€” and likely many victimsâ€™ family members â€” will have a different opinion, and might even find Into the Abyss a dangerous statement. Whatever your take, this remains a powerful film by one of the most skilled directors working in the documentary genre, and will unsettle anyone settling in to watch it.
Photo: Investigation Discovery