Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: Filmmaker Tony Kaye, best known for “American History X,” has been working on Lake of Fire for the past fifteen years and has made a film that is unquestionably the definitive work on the subject of abortion. Shot in luminous black and white, which is in fact an endless palette of grays, the film has the perfect aesthetic for a subject where there can be no absolutes, no ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ He gives equal time to both sides, covering arguments from either extremes of the spectrum, as well as those at the center, who acknowledge that, in the end, everyone is ‘right’ – or ‘wrong.’ (THINKFilm)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 100
    If nothing else, the film puts the lie to the notion that an abortion could ever be frivolous or lightly considered. On that point, everyone in Lake Of Fire agrees, whether they acknowledge the other side or not.
  2. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    An extraordinary docu achievement. Handsomely filmed on silvery 35mm and high-definition by Kaye himself, the shrewdly edited picture balances a full spectrum of views from all sides of the abortion debate without obviously taking a position itself.
  3. Lake of Fire centers on abortion, but Kaye understands that while dead fetuses are the hook, the agenda covers the whole life cycle.
  4. 80
    At once monumental and ghostly.
  5. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Smart, visually appealing, and consistently engaging.
  6. 80
    Highly compelling, if overlong and overwrought.
  7. One lesson of Lake of Fire is the galvanizing power of the visual image. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes pictures are not enough.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. RobertS.
    Dec 28, 2008
    How this sober, unflinching documentary failed to receive an Oscar nominations is beyond me. Director Tony Kaye goes to great pains to interview people with a wide array of beliefs on the issue - a fact that leads me to believe that the review by rob s is an intellectually dishonest one, placed by someone who hasn't even seen the documentary. Yes, Noam Chomsky is interviewed, but so are anti-abortionists of many different stripes - from the articulate to the wholly irrational. Perhaps most stunning is Kaye's focus on one woman, who receives an abortion. In a stunning final scene, he simply allows her to describe her complex feelings without interruption. As for Jake W, the documentary does clearly depict a pro-Choice advocate, asking why the anti-abortion protesters aren't lining up to adopt unwanted children. Adoption is actually discussed several times throughout the film. But it's not a documentary about adoption - or alternatives to abortion. It's a documentary about the struggle among Americans to come to a common understanding about abortion. The fact that Jake W. and Rob S. (both men we should note) dismiss the documentary so easily merely highlights the fact that they're not willing to consider viewpoints other than their own - something the film masterfully details, as well. Expand
  2. nate
    Oct 6, 2007
    Even as a film on this topic could possibly be. An oddity in almost every way.
  3. [Anonymous]
    Mar 30, 2008
    2 and a half hours, and not a minute spent off the edge of my seat.
  4. JudyL
    Apr 15, 2008
    Excellent movie. Illuminating and effective in its choice of interviews, videos and images. Although I can't say that it occupies the exact middle ground, it does attempt to address both sides at the beginning, and does continue to bring in arguments for both pro choice and pro life. This movie does portray sometimes that there is an equal sign of pro-lifers as Christian Fundamentalists, but I think it does bring the point across clearly of the extremes on both sides of the scale. There was an interview that stood out to me of a pro-life supporter who is an atheist, and also pro-life supporters that are for life regardless of age (anti death penalty, for instance). Although not perfectly balanced, this movie does make you think about your stance, whether affirming it or reshaping it. Expand
  5. JakeW.
    Mar 22, 2008
    All these reviews, touting the movie's evenness, may have led me to judge the movie more harshly than if I'd seen it without hearing anything. The movie is not about abortion, it is about abortion clinics and Christian Fundamentalists who attack them. The movie is interesting and provocative and maddening, but that isn't surprising--even a less attractive and professional film about abortion would be all of those things, too. About half of the movie, in my estimation, is spent making it redundantly clear that the only pro-life argument is in the bible, and anyone who doesn't read count his steps on the Sabbath must, simply must, be pro-choice. Oh, and shouldn't a film about abortion mention, more than accidentally, adoption? Expand
  6. robs
    Apr 5, 2008
    Propaganda piece through and through. Chomski is as radical far left as it gets. Maybe because movie critics in general are far left of center they actually believe this is a fair piece that gives an accurate view of boths sides of this debate. Expand