The result is gripping, moving and revelatory, an unabashed if implicit critique of the death penalty.
Ben Walters, Time Out, 2012-03-27
Herzog is pursuing no agenda with Into the Abyss, despite his opposition to extreme judicial measures. He's seeking to answer the question of why people kill, especially in a situation such as this where the reason for the murders was so meaningless.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2011-12-09
Into the Abyss does what too few documentaries these days do - it gives ample play to all sides of the argument. Herzog allows us to think things through on our own.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2011-12-02
The overriding point of Into the Abyss, what keeps this sad, sorrowful film from becoming depressing and elevates it far above the usual chatter of liberal-conservative debate, is that there can be light on the other end of even the darkest of tunnels.
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 2011-11-30
"Into the Abyss" makes a strong case for the inhumanity of capital punishment, regardless of the crime or the criminal.
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2011-11-23
Herzog's investigation may not work as an anti-death-penalty editorial, but its findings are undeniably profound.
Peter Debruge, Variety, 2011-11-18
A disquieting, heartbreaking look at American crime and punishment.
Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter, 2011-11-18
The abyss here isn't capital punishment, the ostensible subject of the film; it's the seemingly unending capacity for causing and enduring pointless misery that humans seem to have.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2011-11-18
It's an uneven movie, but a heartfelt and honest one.
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2011-11-17
An inquiry into fundamental moral, philosophical, and religious issues, and an examination of humankind's capacity for violence - individual and institutional.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2011-11-17
It's like a TV crime reality show made by an alien.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2011-11-14
Werner Herzog looks at the death penalty in "Into the Abyss," and as is almost always the case, to look through his eyes is to marvel.
Kyle Smith, New York Post, 2011-11-11
Any subject Werner Herzog wants to explore is surely worthy of our interest. And his latest documentary is a characteristically insightful study of human nature.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, 2011-11-10
Not since Errol Morris' masterwork of investigative documentary, "The Thin Blue Line," has a filmmaker had such an easy time of making the death penalty-crazed state of Texas look quite so casually venal.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2011-11-10
The paradox of this film is that it is both unremittingly bleak and rigorously humane.
A.O. Scott, New York Times, 2011-11-10
The movie's an "In Cold Blood'' with a patient, persistent German interlocutor instead of Truman Capote turning cartwheels in prose.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2011-11-10
Watching Into the Abyss, I had the overwhelming sense that, somewhere along the way, Werner Herzog lost his way.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2011-11-15
What could have been a well-aimed examination of the most troubling contradictions of capital punishment instead becomes a maudlin, unrestrained wallow.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2011-11-11
What is missing is something new - clarity, insight, outrage. Instead, its understatement is ultimately its undoing.
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, 2011-11-10