Metascore
84

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
Watch On
  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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    80
    Somewhat haphazardly organized yet fascinatingly detailed and enriched by the candor and dignity of its shockingly deprived interview subjects.
  9. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    80
    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. An uncompromising portrait of how global capitalism can exploit an area's resources to the point of near annihilation.
  11. 80
    What gradually comes into focus is a terrifying, appalling, infuriating cycle of exploitation and corruption.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    75
    At times quite powerful.
  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
    63
    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.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 21
  2. Negative: 5 out of 21
  1. LeeH.
    Aug 8, 2007
    7
    it takes a while for this movie to focus- but when it does it's powerful. The villain is not so much global capitalism as it is us it takes a while for this movie to focus- but when it does it's powerful. The villain is not so much global capitalism as it is us humans. How people can take a wondrous natural resource like Lake Victoria and change it to a hell hole. But as a documentary, the powerful parts are drowned out by the tedious, boring, and boring parts. Full Review »
  2. Nikko
    Aug 2, 2007
    9
    so Kyle Smith from The New York Post does not think capitalism is the 'real' problem or greed probably for that matter, but then so Kyle Smith from The New York Post does not think capitalism is the 'real' problem or greed probably for that matter, but then says in the same tiny paragraph that the 'real' problem is the west buying the stuff they are selling etc - pray tell Kyle, what would you call that? The buying of signifiers of wealth etc from the poor by the rich using available monetary services etc etc - well, shit on me Kyle, I call that capitalism. You moron. No surprises you are a new york critic then? Nope. Ignorance is bliss. Full Review »
  3. PatM.
    Jul 22, 2007
    10
    I've watched a lot of documentaries - and this is one of the best I've seen. The unobtrusiveness of the interviewer adds to the I've watched a lot of documentaries - and this is one of the best I've seen. The unobtrusiveness of the interviewer adds to the hoesty and impact of the film. I did not know anything about what had happened to Lake Victoria - so when I first started watching it I was kind of confused - as I watched I started to realize what was happening there - and I felt so sad and angry, so I can only imagine how sad and angry the people there must feel. I Full Review »