Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
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  1. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    60
    Unfolding largely within the confines of a single apartment complex, the well-structured scenario is arresting but ill-served by an overly fussy visual treatment from helmer Jeff Renfroe, while Peter Krause's increasingly psychotic performance as an amateur snoop frequently threatens to cross the line between forceful and off-putting.
  2. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    60
    Expected ironies about homeland security, racial profiling, and fears of the Other land like a rain of anvils, and director Renfroe matches Krause's worked-up performance with a jiggly, flashy approximation of off-brand Tony Scott.
  3. By the time the movie introduces an element of ambivalence in the story, lecture hall ennui has long ago set in, and no amount of jittery horror movie conventions can change it. With nowhere for any of the characters to go, literally, the story becomes a tendentious exercise in belaboring a point.
  4. Ultimately less psychological thriller than polemic about the effects of living in an atmosphere of paranoia fed by daily threat-level assessments and round-the-clock TV news-channel coverage of fear-mongering speeches.
  5. 50
    Shooting in digital video, director Jeff Renfroe needlessly amps up the proceedings with jittery camerawork, jump cuts, and other technical hiccups meant to disorient the audience.
  6. The film is all cliched atmospherics and no real insight.
  7. 50
    It's a subject that guarantees a certain amount of liberal tongue clucking, though director Jeff Renfroe wisely concentrates on suspense instead of sermons.
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    50
    Director Jeff Renfroe and screenwriter Andrew Joiner's flashy psychological thriller wants to say something important about the dangers of a fear-mongering media and resultant ethnic profiling in an age of terrorism, but their warnings are undone by a tricky plot that tries to have it both ways while leaving the audience arguing among themselves as to what it all means.
  9. Civic Duty stands out amid the new wave of terrorism-paranoia thrillers. It's a taut drama set primarily within the confines of two apartments in the same urban building complex and keeps the viewer guessing until the end regarding the reliability of its two central protagonists.
  10. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    50
    Initially promising, ultimately irritating psychological thriller.
  11. A noble try that disappoints.

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