Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Feb 7, 2013
    100
    Such is literature’s power that the cast is more at ease portraying ancient Romans than speaking as versions of themselves.
  2. Reviewed by: Grant Butler
    Feb 7, 2013
    100
    For a movie with such a brisk pace -- it clocks in at just 76 minutes -- Caesar Must Die has surprising depth, particularly when it comes to the strong performances by the actors, many of them Mafiosi serving time for drug trafficking and murder.
  3. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 26, 2013
    91
    At 76 minutes, Caesar Must Die is more of an art piece than a thick steak of a feature film, but it maintains a fascinating hum from start to finish.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Feb 22, 2013
    91
    The ferocity of the performances is inextricable from the men’s real-life criminality. We are baffled, moved, and repulsed – often at the same time – by the elemental spectacle before us. In this metaprison drama, the prison bars are both illusory and unbreakable. Caesar Must Die chronicles an exalted entrapment.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 21, 2013
    90
    Caesar Must Die shows us in the starkest possible terms the electric power of drama to move and touch not only audiences but the actors who bring so much of themselves to their performances.
  6. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 6, 2013
    83
    In Caesar Must Die, the characters are both actor and audience, looking at themselves through the lens of a centuries-old fictionalization of history.
  7. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Feb 22, 2013
    80
    “Ever since I discovered art,” laments one participant, “this cell has truly become a prison.”
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 21, 2013
    80
    What works best is what's readily accessible, the startling power of performers who understand the drama all too well.
  9. 80
    In a scant hour and a quarter it enlarges your notion of what theater and cinema, what art itself, can do — it dissolves every boundary it meets.
  10. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Feb 1, 2013
    80
    The Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio, have been blurring the line between reality and fiction in their films for six decades.
  11. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Feb 1, 2013
    80
    The result feels, like Shakespeare's play, at once ancient and dangerously new.
  12. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Mar 14, 2013
    75
    Not surprisingly, prison must be the perfect incubator of sadness and anger, because every one of the “performances” is astonishingly vivid. At the extremes of the emotional spectrum, at least, these guys are brilliant.
  13. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    Feb 9, 2013
    75
    The film is undeniably moving at times, and there are moments of metatextual elegance that feel as though they tremble on the brink of genuine insight.
  14. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Feb 1, 2013
    75
    Deceptively modest on nearly all accounts, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Caesar Must Die employs seemingly minor directorial contrivances to ruminate on a unique quarrel.
  15. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 6, 2013
    70
    There’s an elemental, almost primitive quality to the Tavianis’ condensing that, at its most effective, dovetails with the prison’s severely circumscribed material reality, as if the high walls, barred windows and suffocating rooms were manifestations of the characters’ states of mind.
  16. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Feb 5, 2013
    70
    This is a looser, grittier film than their work of late, and while it’s more successful in the sequences of bold theatricality than in the faux-cinéma vérité of the surrounding scenes, the mix is nonetheless an interesting one.
  17. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Feb 5, 2013
    70
    Almost as much as the play itself, the rehearsals are staged; the inmates learning to act, then, are acting like inmates who are learning to act. This leads to some on-the-nose scenes in which they observe the parallels between the text and their own lives.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 2, 2013
    60
    The most powerful thing about the film is the "audition" scene at the beginning in which the prisoners have to introduce themselves in two ways: sorrowingly, and then angrily. It is a brilliant sequence, and the rest of the film doesn't quite match it.
  19. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Feb 25, 2013
    60
    A hit in Berlin, the Taviani siblings' documentary has plenty of wit and punch, although compared to the best of the medium - "Man On Wire," for instance - it sometimes comes off as guileless and clunky.
  20. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Feb 5, 2013
    40
    Though the Tavianis’ intent is clear—to comment on the thin line separating part and performer, as well as on the quite literally liberating powers of art—the meanings rarely emerge with any elegance or resonance. Hardly a dish fit for the gods.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 8, 2013
    8
    Beautiful, compelling and creative interpretation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The story is told in a straightforward way and we can sense the real emotions that overflow from the real prisoners who play the characters. All the strength of Shakespeare’s story is present in this film. The imagery is beautiful and the dialogues were carefully selected. Full Review »