Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jun 7, 2013
    91
    I wish Rowley didn’t so often dabble in standard movie-thriller-style stylistics, but his film is an exposé of practices that need – demand – exposing.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jun 6, 2013
    90
    [A] pessimistic, grimly outraged and utterly riveting documentary.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jun 14, 2013
    88
    The film is a documentary, pure and simple. But the movie, by director Rick Rowley, plays out like something of a murder mystery.
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Jun 14, 2013
    88
    A remarkable documentary as important as it is compelling.
  5. Reviewed by: Trevor Johnston
    Nov 26, 2013
    80
    Even after The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, this brings us chillingly closer to the real story of the post-Iraq shitstorm.
  6. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Jun 4, 2013
    80
    Dirty Wars is essential viewing for anyone who wants to know how we wage war right now; it's also a chilling prologue for what's likely a global future of endless war and blowback.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 4, 2013
    80
    Dirty Wars leaves some deeper questions unexplored, mainly the philosophical struggle between security and secrecy, but makes up grandly with raw data and one correspondent’s passion.
  8. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jun 2, 2013
    80
    A vital, gripping film.
  9. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jun 26, 2013
    78
    This is a film you skip seeing at your own risk.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 27, 2013
    75
    These wars being fought in our name may be dirty, but this courageous film reminds us that as long as we have a free press, they don’t have to be secret.
  11. Reviewed by: Steve Boone
    Jun 14, 2013
    75
    The reporter's story doesn't just hold water, it proven solid enough to provoke mainstream media appearances and Congressional investigations. As a result, even though the tale is urgently important, one still comes away with the sense that something valuable has been lost in the telling.
  12. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Jun 2, 2013
    75
    Ably leads us through its extensive investigation, faltering only when the camera lingers on Jeremy Scahill for a touch too long at the expense of his interview subjects.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Jun 6, 2013
    70
    The ambitions toward '70s-era paranoia thrillers aside, as a connect-the-dots narrative, Dirty Wars is eye-opening, a fierce argument that there are chilling ramifications to endless, vague aggression.
  14. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Jun 2, 2013
    70
    It takes pains to make the political personal, forging the viewer’s identification with Scahill by making persistent use of his voiceover narration and keeping him oncamera throughout.
  15. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    Jun 5, 2013
    67
    As a polemic, Dirty Wars is provocative and productively depressing, raising doubts about the effectiveness of military missions that have the potential to create ideological enemies, as well as the degree to which elected officials can—or are willing to—place checks on secret ops. (Obama gets no more points than Bush in any of the matters discussed.)
  16. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Jun 7, 2013
    65
    Scahill is right to focus on the price American security efforts have cost in human rights — and human life. Yet there are difficult questions hovering just outside the frame of Dirty Wars. Short of pacifism, and given that there is no such thing as a truly clean war, what would count as an "acceptable" level of collateral damage?
  17. Reviewed by: Matt Glasby
    Nov 29, 2013
    60
    Though awkwardly assembled, with an overemphatic voiceover, it’s chilling stuff.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 29, 2013
    60
    The movie has rather silly, Bourne-style thriller graphics, which are unnecessary: it has an important story to tell.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. Hen
    Jun 9, 2013
    10
    An eye opening and frightening movie about the covert actions of our government and the actions they are taking to cover it up. The tramplingAn eye opening and frightening movie about the covert actions of our government and the actions they are taking to cover it up. The trampling on our Constitution is an outrage. A MUST SEE MOVIE! Full Review »
  2. Jun 25, 2013
    9
    The presentation and style of the movie is a little distracting, putting Scahill front-and-center with a noir style running commentary. ThatThe presentation and style of the movie is a little distracting, putting Scahill front-and-center with a noir style running commentary. That said, Scahill is a great journalist and the information presented in Dirty Wars is essential to all Americans. The movie is an introduction and an eye-opener, but I recommend following up with Scahill's book of the same name. The book is far more detailed and encompassing. Full Review »
  3. Nov 30, 2013
    10
    Essential viewing for anyone who still retains a shred of independent thought. This courageous work is unique in that it tells it like it isEssential viewing for anyone who still retains a shred of independent thought. This courageous work is unique in that it tells it like it is the sad truth which is so often obscured. Highly recommended and then go watch Oliver Stone's 'Untold History of the United States,' and you will see... Full Review »