Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. Its best moments offer a sense of motion-picture poetry that will lift receptive viewers out of their seats.
  2. Filmmaking at its purest and most visceral – a tale full of sound and visual fury, signifying, if not exactly nothing, then something not so readily articulated in words.
  3. There are extraordinary collisions of image and music here that make for some breathtaking sequences, but when that portentous, Gregorian-chanting chorus kicks in with its repetitive mantra of the film's title, it sure sounds a whole lot like they're saying "narcolepsy," not "naqoyqatsi."
  4. Images wash over you like wind-blown rain, fierce and beautiful at the same time, largely shaped into themes by the haunting music of Philip Glass, who is here joined by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
  5. 75
    Who needs mind-bending drugs when they can see this.
  6. 75
    I have problems with Naqoyqatsi as a film, but as a music video it's rather remarkable.
  7. 75
    Reggio, who is sufficiently eager for a large audience that he has allowed his film to be distributed by Miramax, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co., surely one of the villains in his piece, is neither so honest nor so bold (as Moore's "Bowling for Columbine").
  8. Passionate visual indictment of the perilous state of our high-tech world.
  9. The film is a disturbing and frighteningly evocative assembly of imagery and hypnotic music.
  10. Much of this is involving, although the pace is so relentless that it leaves little time to breathe or grasp precisely what Reggio is attempting to say.
  11. If Microsoft and Nike ever merged into one corporate megalith (MicroNike?) and commissioned Leni Riefenstahl to direct its visionary new Super Bowl commercial, the result might look something like Godfrey Reggio's Naqoyqatsi.
  12. 63
    A movie that seems to have been made mostly on the hard drive of a Power Mac G4. But whatever, we get it: Technology destroys everything.
  13. Feels like a bloated mass of data without much coherence.
  14. By far the grimmest of these nonnarrative, nonverbal cinematic tone poems with epic ambitions. Although none of the three could be described as cheery, Naqoyqatsi, whose title is the Hopi Indian term for war as a way of life, reeks of doomsday.
  15. Dense collage of digitally altered images often looks shockingly like some super-hip media agency's show reel.
  16. 60
    This is more like "The Sixth Sense" writ large: we are all dead but don't know it.
  17. It would be very possible for a reasonably intelligent person to sit through its tidal wave of imagery and not get this vision at all.
  18. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    Sadly, Naqoyqatsi quickly degenerates into a monotonous skein of banal images which strangely reinforces the message that we're living in a damn dull society.
  19. 40
    Part of what made "Koyaanisqatsi" such a revelation was its purely cinematic dependence on unconstructed imagery. Here, he adds a parade of religious, corporate, and political icons, and what's already preachy turns heavy-handed.
  20. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Possessed of another outstanding wall-to-wall score by Philip Glass but rather fuzzy in its message, entry differs from its predecessors in that roughly 80% of its images are derived from existing sources and have been "tortured and recontextualized" to unusual and sometimes extreme effect.
  21. 30
    Despite some rocking bombast by Philip Glass and reliably wicked cello saws from Yo-Yo Ma, the whole thing plays like a tired Tyco ad.
  22. 20
    Pretentious, ponderous and redundant -- You may not need linear narrative to create a great movie, but you do need some original ideas.

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