Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

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  • Starring:
  • Summary: Former Mayor Ed Koch ruled New York from 1978 to 1989—a down-and-dirty decade of grit, graffiti, near-bankruptcy and rampant crime. Making his directorial debut, former Wall Street Journal reporter Neil Barsky has crafted an intimate and revealing portrait of this intensely private man and the town he helped transform. Through candid interviews and rare archival footage, Koch thrillingly chronicles the personal and political toll of running the world’s most wondrous city in a time of upheaval and reinvention. [Zeitgeist Films] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jan 30, 2013
    Neil Barsky's Koch doesn't try to do anything radical as a piece of filmmaking, but Barsky - a former newspaper reporter - covers Koch's story magnificently as a journalist.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 6, 2013
    As a politico, Ed Koch loved power a little too much. But as a leader, he was a storybook embodiment of New York's contradictions, which is why his chapters in the city's saga loom so large.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Feb 28, 2013
    Koch the film makes the point without belaboring it — a mayor and a metropolis linked by tumultuous events in the worst and best of times.
  4. 70
    The film is a canny balancing act, making Koch's arrogance so plain that you quickly move past it and concede that he accomplished remarkable things for a city that was broke and in chaos and with much of its housing stock in ruins.
  5. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 1, 2013
    Barsky’s film is light on biographical detail before Koch’s first term began, in 1978. That’s probably fitting. Koch obviously lived for the job.
  6. Jan 30, 2013
    Neil Barsky is aware of how a great and terribly troubling person can reside in the same body, but his occasional eagerness to appoint himself as his subject's latest press agent is dubious.
  7. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Jan 29, 2013
    The result is neither blind idolatry nor a definitive portrait; just a major missed opportunity content to loiter in the middle of the road.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 17, 2013
    This is a doc about Ed Koch, a strong-willed, outspoken mayor of New York City. In addition to excerpts from interviews with him and his contemporaries, there's lots of historical footage (most of which is in distractingly bad blown-up video). The film seems to spend more time on his major controversies than on his accomplishments and there's nothing inventive about the way it's presented. Just a straightforward doc. Collapse