Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Alison Macor
    Amateur offers the inimitable Hartley style with a harder edge than his earlier films, and while the thriller elements of Amateur prove entertaining on a bigger scale, this entertainment may not endure for viewers not completely committed to Amateur's characters and Hartley's slow-motion storytelling.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Except for a few coups de style, Amateur is a screenful of cool nothingness. [05 May 1995]
  3. If you can swallow one more amnesia plot and one more recycling of favorite bits from Godard's Bande a part, pressed to serve yet another postmodernist antithriller about redemption, this has its compensations.
  4. 63
    I found the idea of the plot more interesting than the plot itself, and am finding the movie more fun to write about than to see.
  5. Hartley turns what might have been a lurid pulp thriller into a freeze-dried art thing. He squeezes all the juice out of pulp. [19 May 1995]
  6. Reviewed by: Tim Appelo
    Amateur is a subversive action movie that uses lurid material for its own puckish purposes. [02 Jun 1995]
  7. 75
    Amateur is a curious mixture of high art and delicious campiness, and the result is a funny, insightful, and almost-hypnotic motion picture.
  8. 88
    Amateur is Hartley heaven, a sharp-witted thriller that takes off into dark and uncharted territory.
  9. Amateur gives the impression of a sloppy first draft. It begins with a splash, meanders until it reaches feature length, then ends abruptly.
  10. The particulars of the plot don't make a great deal of sense, but Hartley's films have much more to do with style, or rather a philosophical refusal to show emotional involvement.
  11. Amateur, the fourth film of American independent filmmaker Hal Hartley, is by far his best - though, in the wake of "The Unbelievable Truth," "Trust" and "Simple Men," that is, admittedly, not saying much. [05 May 1995]
  12. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Renzetti
    Hartley gives us quirkiness in place of connection and usually forgets to put the thrill in the thriller, which is precisely what's endearing about this Amateur. [12 May 1995]
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Just as quirky and idiosyncratic as the Gotham-based writer-director's earlier efforts, this one pushes the spiky humor a bit more to the fore while unfolding a tale loaded with offbeat oppositions and odd character detailing.
  14. Reviewed by: Amy Gamerman
    Amateur is curiously monotone: a pulp fiction with all the pulp strained out. [13 Apr 1995]

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