After all the corny Christmas blockbusters — Oh, you bought a zoo? No one cares — a documentary about a somber topic will be mentally refreshing. Into the Abyss is Werner Herzog’s newest documentary, an examination of one violent crime and the many people it affected.
Subtitled A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, the film tells the stories surrounding two Texans convicted of triple homicide. One received the death sentence, and the other got life in prison. Herzog spends time with the families of the victims, the killers, and the state executioner in an attempt to uncover why people kill. The filmmaker calls it “a gaze into the abyss of the human soul.” Deep. If you’re smart, you’ll bring tissues and gear up for an emotional ride. Let’s hope Herzog’s odd, slight sense of humor comes through in this film as it did in the quirky, sad Grizzly Man and the darkly violent Aguirre: The Wrath of God. Fri., Dec. 30, 7:10 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 31, 7:10 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 1, 7:10 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 2, 7:10 p.m.; Tue., Jan. 3, 7:10 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 4, 7:10 p.m., 2011