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User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 249 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 70 out of 249

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User Reviews

  1. MichaelL.
    Jul 16, 2006
    5
    I think the value of this film is that it encapsulates all that is intriguing and infuriating about French intellectual thought of the past thirty years. There is a deep intellectual pomposity - and, worse, - dishonesty, that permeates all of Deconstruction (starting with the fact that we're supposed to call it "Deconstruction" instead of "Deconstructionist".) If you are "hip" or I think the value of this film is that it encapsulates all that is intriguing and infuriating about French intellectual thought of the past thirty years. There is a deep intellectual pomposity - and, worse, - dishonesty, that permeates all of Deconstruction (starting with the fact that we're supposed to call it "Deconstruction" instead of "Deconstructionist".) If you are "hip" or "with it" you know that reality is a series of "narratives" that have no objective basis; all knowledge is fragmentary; and that anything vaguely American - like linear thought - is Very Bad. And yes, the French treated the Algerians badly and are closet racists, but that is really window dressing here. In fact, maybe some of the recent racial friction is caused by the lack of directness embodied by this film! The French want to pretend they believe in relative values and a subjective view of reality, but then why do they so emphatically defend the French language, culture, wine and cheese from foreign influence? I want to make it clear that I love slow, poetic films if their intent is to be dreamlike - Mulholland Drive is an excellent example of the genre. But this was simply a whodunit with the answers left out. Expand
  2. ScottR.
    May 2, 2006
    5
    It had me but I did not get the ending. I understand that the whole film would feel much better if you knew about the french / albanian history. I didn't know either and it left me feeling stupid. I dont need to have everything wrapped up in a nice litle package but let me know what Happend please.
  3. DanC.
    Apr 25, 2006
    5
    A deeply disappointing and unsatisfying movie by an impressive director that should know better.
  4. Dylan
    May 25, 2006
    6
    i understnd that this movie has many underlying meanings, many of which relating to the racism in france etc. but it still does annoy me that i left the film not exactly knowing what happened, if the the two sons stnading in the stairs are talking does that portray that it is the people of the future who are requried to mend the wrong doings of the past? can some one help me?
  5. Stephen
    May 7, 2006
    6
    Thoughtful and stylish, but it is a stern test of patience. Firstly, I cannot accept Haneke
  6. JoeT.
    Jul 8, 2006
    5
    too pseudo intellectual.
  7. LucasK
    Oct 26, 2006
    4
    Alright, if a very original idea and detail of the story, but I gotta say, TOO FRIGGIN SLOW!!!
  8. KenG.
    Feb 16, 2006
    5
    A true "critic's film", meaning it's a movie critics love to gush over to show how "smart and deep" they are, but if you're not a professional critic, you probably won't be nearly as impressed. Movie doesn't work as a thriller, because there's no real suspense, or edge, You see the actors going through emotions, but those emotions never really come through A true "critic's film", meaning it's a movie critics love to gush over to show how "smart and deep" they are, but if you're not a professional critic, you probably won't be nearly as impressed. Movie doesn't work as a thriller, because there's no real suspense, or edge, You see the actors going through emotions, but those emotions never really come through the screen. Movie doesn't work as a study on the effects this kind of thing can have on a marriage, because you don't get the feeling that their marriage was a particularily happy marriage even before this stuff starts. (In fact Auetail basically admits this to his mother in their scene together) And movie doesn't work as a study of guilt, because the dark secret that has "haunted" Auetail all these years simply doesn't seem that bad. He told a lie when he was 6. First of all couldn't they have made it when he was 12, when he could have been seen as more responsible for his actions. Second of all the lie itself doesn't seem that terrible. The parents overreated to it, which means the blame should have been on the parents, not the kid. I came out of this thinking the 6-year old Auetail wronged the poor chicken, alot more then he wronged the other boy. Overall, movie is the cinema personifaction of that old question "what's the sound of one-hand clapping?" Expand
  9. TomO.
    Feb 25, 2006
    4
    Slow paced and opaque. Subtitles in white font are occasionally illegible.
  10. DanB.
    Jul 1, 2006
    6
    It's fine throughout. Despite its very slow pace, it keeps a sense of creeping suspense. [***SPOILERS***] Unfortunately the end didn't really pay off. I think it might make more sense to someone who knows French history better, and their colonial experience with Algeria... at one point there is also a news clip in the background, given some fair prominence in the scene -- it It's fine throughout. Despite its very slow pace, it keeps a sense of creeping suspense. [***SPOILERS***] Unfortunately the end didn't really pay off. I think it might make more sense to someone who knows French history better, and their colonial experience with Algeria... at one point there is also a news clip in the background, given some fair prominence in the scene -- it talks about the Iraq war, and also has some footage about Gaza. It's hard for me to say how or why the film tries to tie that into this. Anyway. Really fine performances from the actors. But a let down at the end that leaves things way too unresolved. Expand
  11. MichaelG.
    Aug 9, 2007
    4
    The film is interesting and well done technically. That being said, I would go into it knowing that you will leave unsatisfied. When I realized that the movie wasn't going anywhere (about 1/3rd of the way in,) I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt. I think that was a a mistake. I wouldn't say it was overwhelmingly "creepy" like some critics. More: overwhelmingly frustrating. The film is interesting and well done technically. That being said, I would go into it knowing that you will leave unsatisfied. When I realized that the movie wasn't going anywhere (about 1/3rd of the way in,) I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt. I think that was a a mistake. I wouldn't say it was overwhelmingly "creepy" like some critics. More: overwhelmingly frustrating. It gave me blue balls without even enticing me all that well. Expand
  12. JackBlack
    Aug 17, 2007
    4
    The movie had a good point, but that was about it. I thought the acting was horrible. The responses to the video "threats" and the drawings was not realistic. I think that this movie could be remade into a 30 minute movie if you take out all the really drawn out parts of silence.
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. This brilliant if unpleasant puzzle without a solution about surveillance and various kinds of denial finds writer-director Michael Haneke near the top of his game, though it's not a game everyone will want to play.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    This brilliantly disturbing movie is constructed with surgical precision. Haneke lets no one off the hook least of all the viewer.
  3. Haneke echoes the theme of Hitchcock's "Rear Window": Moviemaking is basically an act of voyeurism. We secretly examine people's lives in every movie. But in this one, there is a hidden camera, a movie within the movie as it were, forcing us to observe a character along side a mysterious stranger.