Werner Herzog's latest enquiry into human nature takes him to Texas, where he explores the fallout from a decade-old murder. Into the Abyss is built around interviews with various people connected with the crime, from the killers themselves, now languishing on Death Row, to the friends and families of the deceased. Such a subject leaves little room for the director's trademark eccentricity (although he does bizarrely reduce one man to tears with the question, "tell me about an encounter with a squirrel") but his curiosity and frankness serve the material well.
Herzog has a way of getting his interview subjects to open up and meander with him down unexpected avenues, and Into the Abyss resonates with the messiness of life. My only reservation is that it feels like the film could go deeper, as Herzog's occasional struggle to find a focus for his story takes its toll, but that quibble aside, it's yet another intriguing and surprising film from this ever-fascinating documentarian.