Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: James Adams
    There's no redemption here. Indeed, if anything is redemptive about Katyn , it's the fact of the film itself.
  2. The great Polish director Andrzej Wajda musters the power of classical filmmaking and personal emotional investment to dramatize a stunning atrocity long covered up.
  3. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    This plays almost like an academic master class, meticulously exploring the event's ramifications but only catching full fire at the end.
  4. 90
    This tenacious artist has now given his father a proper memorial and has reasserted, with power and grace, the history and identity of his nearly effaced country.
  5. Reviewed by: Bruce Eder
    An unrelentingly powerful and seamless indictment of two brutal political systems.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    A history lesson for a country and a people forced to forget at gunpoint.
  7. 88
    Now Wajda has brought some small measure of rest to their names, to Poland, and to history.
  8. 83
    Wajda makes the murders look horrific and jangled, like something out of "Hostel," then ends Katyn with extended darkness and silence, allowing the audience to mourn for the death of a nation.
  9. The period sets, costumes and cinematography all superbly recreate the brutal era, grand illusions and everyday suffering of the Poles under both the Nazis and the Soviets.
  10. It is filmed with simplicity, a purity of intent, and I wanted to watch the faces of these men in their last seconds of life--not for the sake of history, but because of Wajda's imperative to put his father's death onscreen. He needed to do this. And somehow, sanity is restored.
  11. 80
    The result is a film with a stately, deliberate quality that insulates it against sentimentality and makes it all the more devastating.
  12. 75
    Wajda, who lost his father in the purge, gives the film an awful silence and mystery at its core.
  13. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    Andrzej Wajda has spent much of his long career dramatizing major events in Polish history, and this poignant feature depicts the circumstances surrounding the Soviet Union's massacre of thousands of Polish officers in the spring of 1940.
  14. 70
    While never less than fascinating, Katyn alternates between scenes of tremendous power and sequences most kindly described as dutiful. It's as if the artist is never certain whether he is making this movie for himself, his father, or the entire nation.
  15. Katyn will not join Wajda's list of masterworks. In its final flashback, however, when we're taken back to the forest and the details of what really happened, we see what we must see, the clear-eyed way we should see it.
  16. A pensive and searching drama that explores how deep into the national psyche these murders in the Katyn forest went.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. JQ
    Jan 18, 2010
    The harrowing final scene of the film vividly depicts the pure evil that was Communism.
  2. JayH
    Aug 9, 2009
    Excellent story, exceptional cinematography and a keen eye for period detail make this a remarkable film.The story is very moving, disturbing Excellent story, exceptional cinematography and a keen eye for period detail make this a remarkable film.The story is very moving, disturbing as well. The cast is terrific and Andrzej Wajda's direction is superb. Fine art direction and costumes. Full Review »
  3. FrankG.
    Aug 1, 2009
    Fabulous movie. Stupendous. I wish it was shown in all schools. Children must learn about the crimes of communism.