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Michael James Perry
Michael James Perry
'INTO THE ABYSS' REVIEW: EMOTIONS ON DEATH ROW

November 11, 2011: "Into the Abyss", a Werner Herzog documentary about a killer on Death Row, opens today as part of the DOC NYC festival.
Written, directed and narrated by Herzog in his familiar singsong cadences, "Into the Abyss" explores the case of Michael James Perry, who was convicted with accomplice Jason Burkett for a 2001 triple murder in Conroe, Texas. Their motive: a red Camaro. Perry got the death sentence. Burkett got life. In interviews, each blames the other for the killings.
Subtitled "A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life," Herzog's film is built around contemplative and revealing talks with inmates, family members, a sheriff, a reverend, an ex-Death Row supervisor and a few local characters.
Herzog remains offscreen but gently present, prodding his subjects to explore their deepest feelings. Because that's what matters to him: emotions. Not facts - not the truth of what happened that night, not the guilt or innocence of Perry and Burkett, not even the raw number-crunching for Texas executions, although Herzog makes clear his opposition to the death penalty.
In jailhouse interviews, the perpetrators come across as oddly mature (Burkett) and unnervingly childlike (Perry). Much more stunning - and candid - are clips of Burkett's dad, a repeat felon himself, as he assesses his own failings as a parent. Jason, he says, "had trash for a father."
"Into the Abyss" bears the usual Herzog hallmarks: the uncanny music (in this case, restless string arrangements by Mark De Gli Antoni); the clear-eyed cinematography by Peter Zeitlinger, scattered with eerie Herzogian stillness; the flights of poetic narration. His usual fixation on the madness of nature shows up once, as Perry recalls an Everglades canoe trip plagued by alligators and monkeys. But Herzog, as ever, is obsessed most of all with human nature: "Into the Abyss" explores our deepest urges to love, and live, and kill. (Sources: Sfgate.com, 11/11/2011)

SAUDI ARABIA: 2 CHADIANS, SAUDI BEHEADED FOR RAPE
IRAN: FIVE PEOPLE EXECUTED IN PRISON
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN EXECUTED FOR MURDER
IRAN: CONVICTED RAPIST HANGED IN PUBLIC
SOMALIA: PUNTLAND COURT SENTENCES TO DEATH AL SHABAAB LINKED MAN
NIGERIA: 924 PRISONERS ON DEATH ROW –LEDAP
AFGHANISTAN: MOTHER, DAUGHTER STONED TO DEATH
ZAMBIA: BABY KILLER TECHNICIAN TO HANG
CHINA: THREE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING TAX OFFICIAL, FAMILY
CHINA: CITY OFFICIAL EXECUTED FOR GRAFT
CHINA: DEATH SENTENCE FOR GRAFT BOSS
CHINA: BROTHERS, FATHER GET DEATH SENTENCE FOR FRAUD
TEXAS (USA): APPEALS COURT ISSUES LAST-MINUTE EXECUTION STAY
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: FOUR WHO ESCAPED DEATH ROW RETURN HOME FROM SHARJAH
IRAQ: TUNISIAN’S EXECUTION POSTPONED AFTER INTERVENTION BY GHANNOUCHI
MALAYSIA: THREE IRANIANS SENTENCED TO DEATH
MALAYSIA: ZAMBIAN WOMAN TO HANG FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
IRAQ: CALL TO HALT IMMINENT EXECUTION OF 15 MEN
CALIFORNIA (USA): NO EXECUTIONS UNTIL 2013
IRAN: SCORNED SUITOR HANGED
IRAQ: TUNISIAN FACES EXECUTION
PAKISTAN: 3 EXECUTED ON ORDERS OF TRIBAL COUNCIL
JAPAN: MAN TO HANG FOR MURDERS

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IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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