Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. A brilliant and irresistible counterfactual overview of American history.
  2. It's a fearless and brilliant racial-historical satire, done in a meticulous re-creation of the Ken Burns mode, that chronicles the last 150 years of America as if the South had won the Civil War.
  3. 91
    For the most part, Willmott succeeds thrillingly.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Provocative, deeply unsettling mockumentary.
  5. C.S.A. has a love-it-or-hate-it bite that probably will lead to a few passionate post-screening discussions.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    As a coherent, well-judged alternative history, the movie's a mess. As a thought-provoking and frequently hilarious jeremiad, it scores again and again.
  7. Not since Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" has such an irreverent carnival of African American stereotypes been so irreverently sent up.
  8. CSA is rough around the edges, especially where the acting and some of the film's invented characters are concerned. But the way CSA works out its ideas is so provoking that its drawbacks are not difficult to ignore.
  9. 70
    With surprisingly good production values and sly, underhanded wit, Willmott never tips his hand, steadily guiding the satire to a genuinely stunning, back-to-reality conclusion.
  10. 63
    CSA would have benefited from a bigger budget and better actors and it gets weaker as it goes along, but it's still thought-provoking stuff.
  11. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    60
    This is a clever premise stretched perhaps a little too far.
  12. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    60
    C.S.A. isn't subtle, but its undisguised indignation places it in the same bold polemical tradition as Peter Watkins' incendiary "Punishment Park" (1971), that nightmarish slice of speculative sci-fi about government-sanctioned manhunts for hippies and dissidents.
  13. Wacky, hodgepodge and decidedly homemade, CSA nevertheless is worth seeing. Sure, it veers off into nonsense, and there are times when the film loses its center. But the premise, the passion and the scathing political commentary ultimately keep CSA afloat.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    More intriguing on paper than when it actually unspools onscreen. Kevin Willmott's small-scaled but ambitious picture is well-researched, sometimes amusing and not unintelligent.
  15. CSA is a sophomoric film essay that would have barely rated a passing grade from a tougher teacher.
  16. 50
    There are droll comic flourishes in this very brave film, to be sure, but all you really want to do after watching CSA is hang down your head and cry.
  17. 50
    Of course, the very existence of someone like Willmott -- a black university professor who can make an angry, ruthless satire about American racism with impunity -- suggests that we're still a long way from living in the CSA.
  18. 50
    Yes, there's something terribly familiar about this historical fantasy. As we now know, and Willmott is well aware, the South actually did win the Civil War.
  19. Like Mr. Lee's hit-and-miss effort ("Bamboozled"), Mr. Willmott's alternative history takes its inspiration and its rage from an America that has come both a long way and not nearly far enough. But while the filmmaker's anger is palpable it's not very inspired.
  20. Less would have been more. Still, CSA has some laughs, most of them bitter.
  21. 50
    In a novel twist, the movie's dumbest element--joke commercials for racist consumer products--turns out to be the most provocative when end titles reveal the products were all real.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 4 out of 12
  1. Mar 24, 2012
    10
    C.S.A. is an excellent satirical-historical product, cleverly using the Ken Burns' style of documentary making. I am pleased to have found it, and plan to share it with my friends. I fail to understand some other viewers' negative reaction to the film. I offer a compound question to them: Do you not understand satire or are you simply an ignorant, defensive racist? America has more than its share of ignoramuses and bigots. Such creatures will not find C.S.A. appealing. Full Review »