Iron Crows Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The world center for ship-breaking is located in the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh — perhaps the poorest nation on earth — is home to the ship-breaking industry. Here huge megaton behemoths that once sailed the seas are sent to be broken apart by men and boys (some as young as 12, often wearing flipflops) who earn $2 a day, from which they send money home to their families. They wrestle with thousands of tons of iron and asbestos, wielding blow-torches, hammers and crowbars. Here is where half of the world’s retired vessels are dismantled by 20,000 people who risk their lives to eke out the barest living. Iron Crows is a remarkably beautiful film, in this case, not just for its superb cinematography, but also for its indelible insight into how some of the most exploited people in the world retain their courage, decency and fortitude. (Film Forum) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 25, 2011
    Virtually an experimental film -- the humanity is rich, but pure image and sensation are what makes it tick.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 23, 2011
    A startlingly beautiful documentary by Bong-Nam Park that is also devastatingly sad.
  3. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Aug 24, 2011
    The filmmaking is patient and participatory, getting down in the dirt with the workers (in one case the lens is even soaked by a spray of sludge) and allowing several touchingly distinct personalities to emerge.
  4. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Aug 24, 2011
    The movie has no story per se, and there are times when it does seem like Park is hovering, vulture-like, over his subjects' shoulders, waiting for a disaster. But Iron Crows isn't devoid of natural human exuberance, nor is it immune to the awesome spectacle of a dangerous job.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Aug 25, 2011
    Iron Crows isn't the miserablist wallow you might expect. While director Park Bong-Nam observes the hazards of ship-breaking with a thoroughness that borders on fetishization, he also catches the humor and camaraderie of men in the trenches.
  6. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Aug 23, 2011
    Park's view - clearly inscribed in his well-structured, practically chapter-headed ("After Hours," "Payday," "Back at the Village") documentary - is that the hideous working conditions and low wages are due to man-made avarice; the workers, though, tend toward a fatalism based in religious predestination.
  7. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Aug 22, 2011
    A maddeningly blunt and syrupy rendering of a piquant socio-economic configuration, Park Bong-Nam's Iron Crows is ultimately third-world documentary filmmaking at its most exploitatively surface-groping.