Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 70
    Gitai's experimental technique in Free Zone is dizzying, sometimes thrilling.
  2. Natalie Portman demonstrates tour de force weeping in the back of a taxi as an American searching for her roots in Israel.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Unfortunately, the characters feel more like symbols than people, despite strong performances, including what might be Portman's finest work to date.
  4. 63
    A minor movie on a major subject, a drama with an almost unbearable lightness.
  5. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    For all its intelligence, Free Zone has disappointingly little to say.
  6. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Amos Gitai's most satisfying pic since war drama "Kippur." Schematic set-up is given a human face by fine performances and a physical journey that's often more interesting than the characters' emotional ones, which are weakened by the Israeli auteur's tendency toward convenient doctrinaire-ism and chunks of expository dialogue.
  7. 58
    Free Zone is similar to the car-based films of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami but with a more improvised, less-finished feel.
  8. 58
    Like a lot of Gitaï's films, Free Zone is part history, part allegory, and part art. Both the history and art hold their fascinations.
  9. The movie works best as a car's-eye travelogue of Jordan. And the three women might be good company on another, less stressful trip. Say to the Caribbean.
  10. 50
    The three women deliver solid performances, but the film is diluted by the use of flashbacks superimposed over present-time scenes. The result is visual chaos.
  11. 50
    Oddly, in representing a private conflict as the microcosm of an unsolvable catastrophe, Free Zone only manages to miniaturize both.
  12. Unfortunately, the message is made clear within the first 10 minutes, leaving us with about 80 minutes of thematic repetition.
  13. If the strong performances of its three stars infuse this metaphorically clotted movie with some life, the screenplay (some of which was improvised) has a weak narrative pulse. This political essay posing as a movie makes the mistake of confusing longwinded storytelling with compelling drama.
  14. 40
    Despite a provocative climax, the movie settles into a ponderous collection of soliloquies.
  15. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    A road picture mired by unsteady camera work, lackadaisical pacing and cumbersome speechmaking, Free Zone is an excruciating cinematic trek. Israeli director Amos Gitai's narrative, both visually and conversationally, is a disappointing dud.

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