Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 100
    Lumumba revives the tradition of Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers" and Costa-Gavras' "Z" and "State of Siege." In substance and excitement, it joins their ranks.
  2. What matters now, what Lumumba conveys, is the urgent chaos of revolution.
  3. 90
    Genuine thriller -- with one crisis hurtling after another, heightened by hauntingly brief moments of peace.
  4. Lumumba is potent stuff. Complex, powerful, intensely dramatic.
  5. 90
    Mr. Peck's gambit works, and the result is a great film and a great performance.
  6. 89
    As fluid and intellectually stimulating as the man himself, a tragic, heartfelt take on an event some 40 years old that feels as fresh as yesterday's Times.
  7. 80
    There's nothing more incendiary than the reopening of a forgotten chapter of history --nothing more incendiary than telling the truth.
  8. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    80
    An impassioned, at times thrilling re-creation of the birth of the country that became Zaire and is now known as Congo again.
  9. 80
    From the start, a comprehensible, if necessarily simplified, sense of an extremely complicated moment in history.
  10. 75
    Although the narration is addressed to his wife, we learn little about her, his family or his personal life; he is used primarily as a guide through the milestones of the Congo's brief two-month experiment with democracy.
  11. The film does succeed in making the story universal, giving us the drama as well as the history, the fire as well as cool examination. It's a movie that haunts you afterward.
  12. 75
    The story is worth telling, one that begs the question: Has anything changed?
  13. Gives a white-knuckled, you-are-there account of a politician's dilemma, one whose repercussions are still felt in Africa.
  14. Betrayal is at the heart of this story, but also dreams of liberty and a life where all people are treated with respect.
  15. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    Structural shortcomings and all -- gives a neglected giant of African independence his due.
  16. Writer/director Raoul Peck never gives us enough intimate moments to let us feel we know the man on a personal level, and he doesn't have the narrative skill to economize the necessary exposition or steer a clear storyline.
  17. 70
    Utterly enthralling even for viewers unfamiliar with the Congo's complicated political history.
  18. 70
    As cliché-rich as it is compelling.
  19. 67
    The film is masterful in many ways, and brilliantly acted by its lead player, Eriq Ebouaney, but it's often overly dense and fast with information, background and ideas.
  20. Never much more than hagiography that lets the context of its hero's death remain confused.
  21. The film feels like bare- bones docu-fiction, though, resisting the attendant drama until the bitter, grisly end.
  22. The movie is visually stirring. And the locations, in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, imbue the story with eerie authenticity.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. TahaC
    Mar 15, 2008
    10
    A poignant and infomative film. Demomstrates how the machinations of Imperialism systematically destroy one of the few ethical statesmen who might have made Congo into a safe and orderly Republic. The same tactics were employed in other fledgling African countries as well, causing most of the countries in the dark continent to fall into banana republic mode or semi-anarchy. A very well acted and powerful film. Full Review »