Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 100
    But for all its bleakness, Nightmare is a film that demands to be seen. In unflinching terms, it captures the hellish existence endured by the many so that the few may wallow in privilege.
  2. 100
    If Sauper is fired up by anti-globalist conviction, his instincts as an artist and as a man rule out any kind of rhetoric or cheapness. Darwin’s Nightmare is a fully realized poetic vision.
  3. 90
    Darwin's Nightmare strings together cruel ironies into a work of harrowing lucidity. It illuminates the sinister logic of a new world order that depends on corrupt globalization to put an acceptable face on age-old colonialism.
  4. Filmmaker Sauper put himself in harm's way numerous times to get so inside the situation, and the intimacy of his technique, his willingness to avoid hectoring voice-overs and simply talk quietly with his subjects, adds compelling believability.
  5. Mr. Sauper has produced an extraordinary work of visual journalism, a richly illustrated report on a distant catastrophe that is also one of the central stories of our time.
  6. 89
    Sauper's delicately horrific documentary is a short, sharp slap in the face of the developed world, and a long overdue one at that.
  7. Both blunt and complex, Sauter's illustration of economic Darwinism at its most primal and unforgiving is a harrowing vision of human life as collateral damage in the modern global economy.
  8. An uncompromising portrait of how global capitalism can exploit an area's resources to the point of near annihilation.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Far more than mere fish tale, Sauper's dark, devastating documentary profiles a socio-ecological nightmare with unimaginable consequences, and it's one of the best films about the ugly reality of the global marketplace.
  10. 80
    Among the most depressing films ever made...It's a stomach-turning tale of globalization at its very worst, though what any of this has to do with Darwin is unclear to me.
  11. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Somewhat haphazardly organized yet fascinatingly detailed and enriched by the candor and dignity of its shockingly deprived interview subjects.
  12. 80
    What gradually comes into focus is a terrifying, appalling, infuriating cycle of exploitation and corruption.
  13. Sauper captures a world in which life and death are treated with equal practicality - and disregard. His camera is unflinching; your gaze may not be quite so steady.
  14. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    At times quite powerful.
  15. As confusing, horrific and unsettling as a nightmare can be, at least you wake up and the memory fades. Darwin's Nightmare, tragically, is not a dream, but rather a haunting, beautifully made reality check well worth waking up to.
  16. Darwin's Nightmare points an all-purpose finger at globalization, yet the movie, as raw and vivid as it is, meanders terribly and - bigger problem - never hints at how the disasters it shows us are rooted in Africa's colonial past.
  17. 70
    Darwin's Nightmare would be just another "ain't it a shame" piece were it not for the way Sauper gradually reveals how all this human misery might play out.
  18. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    The documentary tries to pin Africa's suffering on capitalism, but dances around the real problem. Africa starves because corrupt governments own the natural resources and export them to buy weapons to keep their people at bay.

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