For 701 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 9.5 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Abele's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 52
Highest review score: 100 Heart of a Dog
Lowest review score: 0 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
Score distribution:
701 movie reviews
    • 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.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    A movie that, if never exactly a cathartic experience, carries you along in its clenched grip with an undeniable power. It’s sad and funny and real.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The access that Bécue-Renard got, reportedly after five months of being there without a camera, is remarkable.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The filmmakers' approach is inherently positive.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Wherever you stand on healthcare and the fact that uninsured people nationwide use emergency rooms for basic services, the documentary The Waiting Room is a revealing portrait of the often tough transactions between patients and hospital staff at the urgency level.
    • 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.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    As a first film, it is incredibly accomplished, its influences (French New Wave, Wong Kar-Wai) apparent but integrated.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Zhang and his sterling actors have made something fairly unforgettable about the tragedy of forgetting.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The wistfulness on display is touching and funny, often both at the same time.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Peter and the Farm is ultimately a portrait of whatever the opposite of “getting back to nature” is: the cycle of the land as a circle of hell.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    It’s an invitingly austere movie, designed for both searching believers and curious others. The film can be cinematically rigorous, but it’s never ritualistically flashy.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Can you tell it’s a play? Absolutely. Does that mean a damn thing? Not when the writing is this richly evocative, and the cast so often soars with it.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The Ross brothers augment the teams’ richly choreographed, competition-tested routines with slow motion, superimpositions, and separately shot material with individual color guard members. But these artful divergences feel naturally expressive, the filmmakers’ way of honoring the expressiveness, and wanting in on the inspiration.
    • 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.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Abele
    Amanda Knox delivers its own justice by covering all the complexities of its ever-fascinating true crime tale.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    When I, Daniel Blake regrettably piles it on at the end, it’s Loach growing weary of humanizing details and desperate to shake you up with consequences, didacticism and speechifying. It’s the finger-pointer in him, but as this movie frequently shows in its best moments, he’s still a practiced veteran at open-arms affection for the dignity of the downtrodden.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Slaboshpytskiy has made one of the most unusual and disturbing films about criminality of the new century.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 75 Robert Abele
    Thankfully the creators of this expansive adventure, a crime-solving saga starring a bunny who wants to be a cop, have a bit more in mind than the usual strains of aww-dorable humor and frenetic action.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    If its wobbliness doesn't always serve its commanding central performance, the movie does mark a sensitive, low-key approach to outsiders of any kind, one that legitimizes their struggle without selling them as ready-made saints.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Prophet's Prey is a sobering reminder that tyrannical monsters who hide behind religion can be homegrown too.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    A striking and maddening delivery system for art house creepinesss.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Jauja makes one cryptic leap too many at the end, but until then it evocatively confounds.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Don’t Call Me Son, although built on conflicts that have fractured many a family, thankfully never veers into melodrama.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    By its bittersweet end, Fifi Howls From Happiness has stayed almost entirely in one apartment and yet somehow unveiled both a life in full and a blank canvas.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The ambitions toward '70s-era paranoia thrillers aside, as a connect-the-dots narrative, Dirty Wars is eye-opening, a fierce argument that there are chilling ramifications to endless, vague aggression.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The film is a real "whew"-factor yarn, a hearty soup of thick accents, bold personalities and complicated motives, with an unmistakable taste of charismatic, ornery American hedonism.
    • 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.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 95 Robert Abele
    Is the relentlessness too much? At two and a half hours, perhaps, but inventiveness abounds.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    At times exquisitely attuned to the commingling of the bitterly funny and tragic, and at other times an eye-roll-worthy collection of ready-made fetish videos (Flores is one brave avatar of outré sexuality), The Dance of Reality is nonetheless proof that the legendary provocateur is still a font of out-there invention.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Garrone achieves something uniquely colorful, disturbing and trenchant about self-perception in an increasingly fishbowl-like society.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    John Wick’s world is elegant and vicious, full of slaughter and courtesies and, if “Chapter 2” can’t quite replicate the original’s sense of discovery, its ending still made me wish “Chapter 3” could start right away.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Although Greene swerves unnecessarily into obvious audience indictment at the end, Kate Plays Christine makes for a twisty, unsettling probe into our fascination with transforming lives, and deaths, into digestible storytelling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    No matter how reflectively mellow the gray-haired, reminiscing interviewees are, the blizzard of featured illustrations from the magazine's '70s heyday offer scads of they-couldn't-get-away-with-that-today laughter.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Tomboy stands out as an especially affecting delicacy about the thrills and pitfalls of exploring who one is.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The movie is practically a textbook about how ravenous corporations and feckless government can strip-mine the souls of workers, and replace them with a political narrative about their problems that keeps reality forever hidden behind a fine, dusty fog.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    In its garishness, Mommy is a weirdly compelling overreach for this young filmmaker. It's the work of someone clearly passionate, if not disciplined yet, about his cinematic interests.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The movie exists in a space beyond arguments about immigration policy and border security, and while sometimes a little too willfully pokey, it speaks to something indelibly human about dreams and their costs.
    • 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.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    There’s little that’s not dispiriting about Among the Believers and its measured, direct entrée into a closed world of hopeless boys and girls memorizing the Koran, but forbidden from learning its meanings.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    The details are mesmerizing as is the rule-breaking psychology behind it.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    One of the best sports documentaries in recent memory.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    The movie offers hope in the form of a survivors’ network started by another maligned victim who attempted suicide.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    It’s a wealth of information The Ivory Game vitally offers, and action it means to incite. That may well be enough to get audiences involved.
    • 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.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Larraín, who wrote the movie with Guillermo Calderón and Daniel Villalobos, approaches the material like a scientist both fascinated and cynically bemused by how a particularly virulent sickness operates.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Considering its subject often enjoys the simple wonder inherent in characters who look into the distance, Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny does an extra-fine job of looking back with similarly rich and appreciative curiosity.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    A documentary that begs to be seen in a theater, Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang offers an inviting glimpse into the life of a truly international artist, one whose colorful fireworks displays literally paint the air.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Almost Holy captures something meaningfully urgent in the brutal day-to-day of tough love amid a world of tougher indifference.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Neither Heaven Nor Earth is a case of the inexplicable rendered without forced mysticism or explanation, but rather explored with a clinical dramatic focus that somehow boosts the eeriness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Zahler's still starkness, enhanced by a fondness for long shots and dark spaces, is refreshing in this shaky-cam era, and his ear for Old West sensibilities — from the mythically polite to the realistically xenophobic — is clinically effective.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The key to the fun is that Yeon eschews lookie-loo gore for thrilling set pieces: his fleet, imaginative action scenes recall Brad Bird’s crisp transition to real people in peril when he made his “Mission Impossible” movie.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    While Christine the movie may leave you in a coldly analytical space about sad people — even its dollops of humor have a chilliness — Christine the woman stays with you, thanks to a career-best performance from Hall that’s stark, thoughtful, and mesmerizing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Dope is, in the end, just another unfunny grab bag of stereotypes. Don't believe the hype.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Director Stephanie Soechtig’s passionately contended, slickly produced film may not sway the most fervid 2nd Amendment defenders, but in its problem-solving vigor could spur a lot of others who believe in change to make that call, join that group, or vote a certain way.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    [A] stunningly assured, darkly gripping first feature.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Writer-director Xu Haofeng’s movie doesn’t feel like many other movies of its ilk. That’s mostly a good thing, even if the movie can’t quite fit all its eccentric pieces into a satisfying whole.

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