For 778 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Abele's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 53
Highest review score: 100 Dragon Inn (1967)
Lowest review score: 0 Detention of the Dead
Score distribution:
778 movie reviews
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    [Filho's] mastery of pacing, theme and stylistic eccentricity throughout Neighboring Sounds is so assured as to be breathtaking. Don't miss it.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    It humanely, intelligently questions the very nature of our desire to make sense of the past with the tools of the present, when the human mind remains the most aggressively obliterating battlefield of all.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    Director and co-writer David Wnendt is after serious comedy here, a character study of psychic pain, wounds hereditary and self-inflicted, and body-conscious absurdity that treats the human condition with wry intelligence, not empty prurience.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    By turns Dickensian, Marxist and dystopian, it's a movie as deliriously unclassifiable as it is expertly focused in its desire to provoke and entertain.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    Heart of a Dog is that rarest of pieces, an unabashedly experimental work that's as inviting as a visit with an old friend, one who may not always make sense, who's sometimes goofy, but has been through a lot lately and treasures the opportunity to artfully unload.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    The fertility of Shults' image-making and storytelling skills is almost breathtaking, and much of Krisha draws on the subconscious power of his direction in tandem with Krisha Fairchild's mesmerizing turn.
    • 97 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    A director in command of everything from the watchful eyes of his actors, to the beauty of a misty morning light, to the heart-stopping vectors of arrows and swords bursting across a widescreen frame, Hu creates cinema that's the definition of kineticism.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Robert Abele
    Tower is art, first and foremost, a piece about adrenaline, bravery, grief and memory that stands as one of the year’s crowning achievements in emotional, illuminative storytelling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 95 Robert Abele
    Is the relentlessness too much? At two and a half hours, perhaps, but inventiveness abounds.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 95 Robert Abele
    This fourth entry after a nine-year break for Damon and Greengrass should represent, for those ready and able to separate popcorn mayhem from the grim realities of world headlines, a bruising and exhilarating ride.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Suffice to say, unrelenting material like this isn't for everybody. That it is a gloriously filmic gesture - by turns jaw-dropping, elusive, silly, obnoxious, painful and beautiful - is celebration enough.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    One of the best sports documentaries in recent memory.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    With American independent filmmaking all too often a ready punching bag in today's cinéaste culture, this frequently dazzling, eccentric portrait of mutually assured destruction is that most delirious of combos: charmingly funny and emotionally terrifying.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    The same intelligence, wit and mature spirit that actress Vera Farmiga brings to her performances is richly apparent in her directorial debut as well, the inquisitive spiritual drama Higher Ground.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Deliberate and marked by uncommon grace, In The Family manages to feel politically and culturally acute without ever resorting to melodrama, or having to wave banners for issues or causes, except perhaps in its quiet way for a renewed humanism in movies and a return to stories about everyday lives.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    As a strictly psychological portrait of destructive masculinity it's a gut-sock, vividly photographed, thrillingly edited and marked by performances (Donald Pleasence and Jack Thompson, most notably) that heave with strange complexity and dark camaraderie.Wake in Fright is true horror.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Garrone achieves something uniquely colorful, disturbing and trenchant about self-perception in an increasingly fishbowl-like society.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Post Tenebras Lux is that real rarity in cinema, a visually striking archaeology of the psyche that benefits both the moviegoer primed to engage Reygadas' ideas, and the ones open to being swallowed in an art film wave.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Joy and redemption aren't exactly punk mantras, but A Band Called Death might just give your heart a thrashing.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Bastards is a thriller truly etched in darkness, pools of black broken mostly by the stricken yet soldiering faces of her main characters, like ships in a sea of stormy nights.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Less concerned with fake shocks and show-me violence than the grimly calibrated rotting of personalities, Oculus is one of the more intelligently nasty horror films in recent memory.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Composed of breathtaking images and cheeky bits of humor, Dencik's travelogue reveals a journey with curious traces of the past, eye-popping encounters with a wild present and — in discovering an oil company's ship in the group's midst — a weighted reminder of our future as stewards of the Earth.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    It's Stevens, as the all-American cover-model mercenary both friendly and fatal, who gives The Guest its literally killer personality.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Ferran's eccentricity is an acquired taste, but the light, emotional artfulness of Bird People — a cry for the senses in a world that so often dulls — is welcome.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Though the breathless tale and full-throttle tunes give "Filmage" plenty of rollicking energy, it's the through-line of genuine soulfulness and tireless artistic commitment that sets it apart.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    It's a B movie made with A-student love for the relentless thrill of bodies in brutal motion.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Slaboshpytskiy has made one of the most unusual and disturbing films about criminality of the new century.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    In giving historical context to the poisonous nature of our oft-bemoaned political discourse, "Best of Enemies" showcases brainy bloodsport with humor, nostalgia and, appropriately, a lacing of melancholy.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Giving flair to the inevitable and imbuing those stakes with emotional heft are key to this type of patiently nasty, slow-boil noir. That Johnson understands this makes his feature debut a particularly confident and enjoyable one.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    The details are mesmerizing as is the rule-breaking psychology behind it.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Zhang and his sterling actors have made something fairly unforgettable about the tragedy of forgetting.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    A low-key, near-total charmer, writer-director Charles Poekel's Christmas, Again captures something ineffably moving about the holiday grind.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    While thrashing chords score this gutbucket nightmare, Saulnier's way with overwhelmed characters, pressing evil and dangerous escape mechanics is practically symphonic.
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    The movie’s physicality is never pushed to suggest suffering. It’s like a constant meditation, something to absorb and exhale.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    The real skill in Lane’s colorful tale about self-made millionaire, “inventor” and maverick John R. Brinkley is that it revels in how fun it is to believe in the unbelievable, and how sinisterly effective the mixture of fact and fiction can be. That includes, Lane eventually reveals, documentaries themselves.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is just the kind of percolating, wry probe we need into this fast-moving, digitally monopolizing age.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    This is the rare Morris movie that feels led by the personality of its star figure, in this case Dorfman’s wry positivity and love of what she does, rather than his need to probe.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Trengove’s direction keeps things firmly grounded in the play of glances and intimacies under shelter of nature’s seclusion — dusk-lit silhouettes stealing moments, a waterfall rendezvous.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    With lines drawn along politics, class, race and economics, the strange-bedfellows issue of top-dollar killing and queasy conservation is one that Trophy...lays bare with gruesome, grim exactitude.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    As fingers move Polaroids around in the frame, or faces in jarring close-up grapple with unresolved tragedy, you realize Strong Island is a state-of-mind piece, surveying the wreckage from within.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Though Dheepan is another triumph for Audiard, it could have just as easily not worked had its leads not been so affecting
    • 90 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Though it deals with complicated emotions surrounding acceptance and individuality, Holmer’s movie, which she wrote with Saela Davis and Lisa Kjerulff, is a model of control, not unlike its strong, watchful central character.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Hell or High Water is that rare offering that both feels old-fashioned in its action-thriller gratification and in-the-moment about everything else.
    • 92 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    This is history from the inside, told by people who don’t always look like they’ve gotten past it, and it’s what makes “Let it Fall” so memorable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Robert Abele
    Sully, an honest, skillful rumination on what makes a hero, is just one more example of how Eastwood, having directed movies only slightly longer than his protagonist had been flying planes, is still a masterful pilot himself.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Robert Abele
    For fans of exquisitely conjured nostalgia, dosed liberally with a modern attitude, The Love Witch is a velvety melodramatic treat, and a real calling card for Biller’s playfully immersive gifts. Bring your gaze, whatever your gender.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 85 Robert Abele
    Leon’s New York has plenty of uncertainty, but it hums with possibility, especially the notion that if you miss one connection, another one’s right around the corner. In that respect, Tramps is beautifully breathless.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 85 Robert Abele
    With movies experiencing a glaring dearth in quietly human, perceptively satirical comedy, the appearance of Brad’s Status is something of a breath of fresh air. Even if that atmosphere is the occasionally sour odor of regret, the sharply drawn, considerate nature of White’s approach allows us to enjoy the tang and sweetness simultaneously.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The film doesn't always follow up on its more interesting issues: safety, technique, financial hardship, even the sport's history. But the emotional dynamics of its trio of formative hopefuls, and their touching relationships with the parents or guardians who work hard at enabling their passion, set a solid pace.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Informally sketched but deeply felt, Bradley Beesley's documentary Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo mingles with the spirited cowgirl inmates who compete in Oklahoma's annual state penitentiary rodeo.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    If you meet the fiendishly deadpan Rubber halfway, its assured mix of cinephile artiness and grindhouse spoof will offer some oddball surprises.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A transgender icon with a life as tragically short as some of the idols she worshipped, she's the deserving subject of an archivally rich remembrance, and such is James Rasin's poignant documentary Beautiful Darling.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    As gut-punch storytelling, Viva Riva! delivers much, not the least of which is the promise of an exciting new filmmaking talent.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Rapt fuses strands of dramatic tension in a shrewd enough way that it even saves its sharpest cuts for the kidnapping's aftermath, when a well-heeled life laid bare must reconcile with a much different form of enforced solitude.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A unique glimpse into the recovery mechanism of damaged hearts and bewildered minds, how a visage of hollowed-out sorrow after one year becomes a look of more peaceful acceptance down the road.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Summer Pasture has an earthy intimacy and compassion for its subjects that will have you thinking about their plight long after they've packed up and moved on for winter.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A farce of misunderstanding first, body-count nightmare second and at nearly all times a refreshingly upending horror-comedy bromance.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Tomboy stands out as an especially affecting delicacy about the thrills and pitfalls of exploring who one is.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    This is when the movie earns its hushed exclusivity and kitschy title, when we see an art form bridge generations with a strange mixture of grace, joy and melancholy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    It's a character study about faith in connectedness, with an unforced love for cross-generational companionship that's special indeed.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Visual sumptuousness trumps the coldly erotic dastardliness of previous incarnations, but where this version feasts is on close-ups, with exchanges between pairs of eyes - the predatory versus the hesitant, the manipulatively comforting opposite the blindly vulnerable - that recall the silent era.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    In its gently atmospheric camerawork and nicely underplayed moments between Mike and Chris, Resolution manages to keep its eerier moments surprising and its emotional life arresting.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Predictable if measured uplift aside, Fox keeps Yossi effortlessly affecting, graced with deadpan humor and a knowingness about lonely lives.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Eden is never less than suspenseful, but rather than sentimentally pander to easy outrage, or indulge in icky women-in-distress titillation, the movie...zeros in on the details of how dignity can be stripped like bark from a tree, and the queasy determination it takes to stay alive in a living hell.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    For Hetherington, the front line was not just a set of coordinates in a bloody battle, but a space where true artists operated, and Junger's film goes a long way toward celebrating that mind set, but also recognizing how treacherous it can be.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Pieta, which won last year's Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is disturbing, for sure, but its larger points save it from being a quick and dirty wallow.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    For moviegoers who prefer cheeky wit, down-and-dirty mayhem and grown-up suspense in their air-conditioned escapism, The Prey deserves to light up the summer art house.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The Crash Reel asks pointed questions about hazard, reward and consequence, forcing us to look anew at the rush attached to so many high-stakes sports.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The film practically vibrates with youthful aggression, sly humor and gathering tension, hurling itself forward like a junkie toward the next fix.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The introduction of a baby that Tonny supposedly fathered feels worrisome initially...but in Refn's skilled street-realist hands, the child becomes a potent, wailing metaphor for Tonny's own dilemma of rudderless need.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The surprisingly adept mixture of tones — naturalism, dysfunctional family satire, winking slasher nostalgia, twisty vengeance thriller — is offbeat enough to keep even hardened connoisseurs of body-count entertainment on their toes.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Swanberg achieves an occasionally heady aura of improvisational flirtatiousness mixed with a churning will-they-or-won't-they suspense.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The atmospheric heft of Il Futuro is invariably more bracing than oppressive, and in the complexly stoic Martelli and masterfully craggy, haunted Hauer, an alluringly opaque pas de deux of loss and uncertainty is wonderfully realized.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Ever mindful of the line he straddled between thinker and flamethrower, this "Gore Vidal" is nevertheless a lovingly packaged greatest hits from a legendary rebel of letters.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Korengal is a bracing reminder of the inexplicable will to endure hell and come out the other side alive.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    NightLights achieves something admirably genuine about the queasy mixture of anguish and joy attached to caretaking for the most needy of loved ones.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    In conjuring a fantastical slippery slope in which technology, pharmaceuticals and the entertainment industry co-star in a takeover of our lives, The Congress boasts a propulsive image-making pull.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Private Violence makes painfully clear the emotional and legal hurdles battered women endure just to feel safe again in or outside the home.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Like any good purveyor of noir, Boyle, who wrote the film with Joel Clark and Michael Lerman, understands that identifying someone is only one endgame while the mystery of identity is naggingly, tragically endless.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    As a first film, it is incredibly accomplished, its influences (French New Wave, Wong Kar-Wai) apparent but integrated.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A documentary that shouldn't have to be made, about a law that needn't exist, explored via a crime that could have been avoided: 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets is a thought-provoking, mournful experience, perhaps more so in the wake of the killings in Charleston, S.C.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Whatever your feelings on capital punishment, A Murder in the Park has a gripping story to tell about, oddly enough, the corrosive effects of storytelling on the justice system when it gets the best of reasoned minds.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Its oddball colors and willful wanderings betray a sweet, savory, uncompromising air that showcases Russell's uniquely fused brand of American harmony with rascally ebullience.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    By turns opaque, harsh, self-aware, indulgent and wickedly funny. It's never dull, pummeling you with its prickly smarts.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Prophet's Prey is a sobering reminder that tyrannical monsters who hide behind religion can be homegrown too.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A rich, occasionally stirring and ultimately plaintive ode to the craft of velvet gloves, iron fists and how to point with either or both.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The filmmakers' approach is inherently positive.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The access that Bécue-Renard got, reportedly after five months of being there without a camera, is remarkable.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A raucous, weird, occasionally fascinating entry in the genre of disease-documenting, a portrait of raw nerve in the face of deteriorating nerves.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    it's Nowar's ability to tell his tale so firmly from the viewpoint of his quickly growing-up protagonist, and to elicit so unforced a performance from Eid, that may be the most impressive achievement of this intimate, well-paced film.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Censored Voices is a soul debriefing of sorts. The soldiers' tales of killing the captured and uprooting entire villages lead them to question whether the war was more about expansion than survival.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Instead of sinking into crude, one-night-stand joke territory, Night Owls roots around for the spark of real chemistry and, in the winning turns of Pally and Salazar, finds it.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    In a way, the movie is a tug of war between the fruits of exhaustive research into old-world madness — which plays out most prominently in the richly possessed performances (particularly Taylor-Joy and young Scrimshaw) and the evocative frontier trappings — and an entertainer's pulpier instincts.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    [A] poignant, funny and well-seasoned portrait of autumnal fervor.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    It's a fitting tribute to the influential journalist-essayist-filmmaker: insightful about the life of a successful writer, engaging about how a smart modern woman navigated the world, but also quizzical about how Ephron was as a daughter, sister, wife and mother.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    In the new documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato do an ultra-fine job tracing a born provocateur's commitment to his calling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Sensitively handled yet unafraid to elicit squirming, and boasting a seriously affecting turn by Lindon — who won last year’s Cannes award for Best Actor — it’s a miniature portrait of quotidian desperation that nevertheless speaks to the collective psychic moan of job-seekers and those barely holding on everywhere.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Unlocking the Cage, despite its cameras being on hand for a historic animal rights push, shouldn’t be confused for some hot-button doc ready to slap you into sensibility about its fight. Hegedus/Pennebaker are too smart to get ahead of themselves about something they clearly believe in, when simply hewing to a can-do guy provides enough momentum.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    As you watch Argentina, it truly is about the all-as-one: the music, the dance, the light Saura provides, and the illumination these performers bring themselves.

Top Trailers