Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 100
    As demonstrated in his previous film, a plangent snapshot of subsistence called "Waiting for Happiness," Sissako is a poet, and the filmmaking in this new picture is stuff of a deserving laureate.
  2. The serious accusations are leavened by the moments of brimming, illogical, intimate neighborly dailiness the filmmaker also captures with warmth and infectious high spirits.
  3. One reason Bamako feels like a blast of sanity is that the theoretical debates about the state of the world, particularly Africa and more particularly Mali, are only half of its agenda. The other half, broadly speaking, is the life of everyday Africans.
  4. 90
    Bamako is something different: a work of cool intelligence and profound anger, a long, dense, argument that is also a haunting visual poem.
  5. Sissako has an unusual camera eye, patient and alert to the ebb and flow of both the courtroom sequences and the outside scenes. The music is wonderful as well.
  6. Never mind Hollywood's big-star, big-budget hand-wringing about Africa - Bamako is the real thing.
  7. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Far from an easy watch, either in terms of its hard-hitting content, seemingly haphazard structuring or its dense symbolism. But this makes sense of the political intricacies by balancing the rhetoric and statistics with everyday occurrences that give the iniquities and inadequacies a human face.
  8. 80
    A barrel of laughs, this ain't. But it's a fearless high-wire act, grim and witty, confrontational and self-mocking. Its message may be dire, but Bamako is a feat of intellectual and cinematic daring that will leave your brain buzzing.
  9. Bamako is an attack on globalization that is endlessly cogent, confrontational -- and, best of all, as captivating as it is illuminating.
  10. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Rather miraculously, picture succeeds in painlessly educating its viewers about global politics and economics while it describes contemporary Africa with freshness and clarity.
  11. Sissako makes his point: Africa's best treasure is its humanity.
  12. Bamako, with Sissako's poetic blend of the humdrum and the theoretical, is altogether fascinating. Dramatic features born and bred on the African continent are rare commodities on these shores, and the opportunities they offer can stretch far beyond film appreciation and into the realm of world understanding.
  13. Heated speeches about the International Monetary Fund, debt relief and global responsibility may not sound like your idea of Friday-night entertainment, but Sissako makes a strong case.
  14. 75
    Credit Sissako for entertainingly blending serious international issues with the daily comings and goings of village life. A bit more Glover wouldn't have hurt - but you can't have everything.
  15. A powerful polemic leavened with moments of beauty and humor.
  16. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    Bamako brings relief from the latest round of Africa chic in the media, reversing "the flood of information that flows one way." It colors the Africa Problem from the inside out.
  17. 70
    No one can deny the powerful reality that weaves its way through Bamako.
  18. 58
    The film feels oddly slack and inert, livened only by testimony better suited to another forum.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. KenG
    Mar 15, 2007
    Movie has something worthwhile to say, but it says it in a way that is tedious. This only comes to life a couple of times, late in the movie, with a cuple of passionate speeches. The message and lessons of this movie, probably could have been better served in a doctumentary. Full Review »
  2. AndrewB.
    Mar 10, 2007
    Way too much filler. Too many scenes of people doing laundry and walking around. I did really appreciate the moments when they focused on the courtroom arguments. For me, that was the only really important part of this movie. The rest of it was repetititve, dull, and almost provocatively boring. I would have rather just seen the courtroom action and hear the arguments summed up in about half an hour. The rest was slow torture. Full Review »
  3. ChristosT.
    Mar 4, 2007
    Four friends went to see this film together. Two walked out after twenty minutes because they had a bit too much to rink. The two of us that stayed thought it was sublime. This is a courtroom drama that is cinematic rather than theatrical, and for that reason probably "difficult" for my generation, raised on Law and Order Sexual Titillation Unit. It is also probing, intelligent, moving, confronting and formally exhilarating. Full Review »