Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. There's a kind of tough beauty to this deft, satisfying thriller.
  2. 83
    It's a relentlessly downbeat, well-acted melodrama that's easy to admire, but intentionally impossible to enjoy.
  3. A powerful Christian parable, painful but illuminating, about crime and redemption.
  4. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    Connelly, in particular, soars as the nail-biting mother trying desperately to put on a brave face and keep her family together, while Ruffalo and Phoenix, two of Hollywood’s best brooders, are excellent as wounded young fathers.
  5. 63
    Instead of a tense, emotional and psychological thriller or a thoughtful exploration of grief and guilt, what we end up with is ... soap. Whether you choose to wash your hands of it is up to you.
  6. Unrelentingly bleak, the movie is nonetheless a riveting drama with some outstanding performances.
  7. 63
    It's hard to watch two fine actors working themselves into a lather for so little reward.
  8. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Tries rather feebly to examine complex questions of morality. It does a better job of capturing a sense of shattering grief, but it gets too caught up in plot contrivances and coincidences to be believable.
  9. 63
    The book tore at my heart; the movie left me strangely unmoved.
  10. 50
    Even the best actors -- and I'd rank Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo among their generation's finest -- can't save a movie that aims for tragedy but stalls at soap opera.
  11. The best efforts of the performers cannot authenticate a plot that no longer feels inevitable. It feels contrived. And the audience stays at a remove instead of entering someone else’s nightmare.
  12. George, director of "Hotel Rwanda," is better at directing actors than visual storytelling. Every time the camera tilted to suggest a character's shaken world or distorted worldview I didn't feel heartache, I felt headache.
  13. Despite some solid acting, the film is lacking in surprises. For all the suffering that these characters endure, there's very little payoff.
  14. 50
    The real problem with this movie isn't its trashy side - the "Death Wish" stuff is actually suspenseful. It's the creepy note of causal judgment that hangs over it.
  15. The result is that, rather than tragedy, this unfolds like a plodding morality tale in which Wrath and Cowardice play out their respective parts.
  16. Serious Acting Opportunities abound! Unfortunately, sharp dialogue and characters who keep you riveted do not.
  17. 50
    Dour, ponderous picture.
  18. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    The kind of movie that moves you to tears even as you resent the manipulative mechanics of the story.
  19. Ruffalo is so squirrelly in the role that he seems like a dead giveaway from the start. You know exactly where the story is going, and, dang, that's exactly where it goes.
  20. There is no reason why Reservation Road could not have been great. George has co-written some powerful films in the past, including two for Daniel Day-Lewis, "In the Name of the Father" and "The Boxer." He is not wrong to want to mainline intensity here, but the inner lives of these men have not been explored, only displayed.
  21. Paints itself into a corner, creating a static situation in which everyone is either stymied or wracked by indecision, leaving the movie free for its two male leads to wallow in self-pity, remorse and bad behavior.
  22. 40
    Very little in Reservation Road ultimately rings true, which makes the anguished theatrics on display that much more exasperating.
  23. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Reservation Road itself may twist and turn into the New England night, but emotionally and dramatically, the movie that bears its name is a dead end.
  24. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Neither involving as a study in grief nor compelling as a thriller about conscience, the cat-and-mouse tragedy Reservation Road is a misery windup so schematic and obvious it reduces its crisis-stricken characters to little more than emotional bumper cars.
  25. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A dramatic situation that should be wrenching is mostly tedious in Reservation Road.
  26. 25
    In the mood for some dead-child entertain ment tonight? Reservation Road has what you're looking for. It's "In the Bedroom" crossed with, um, "Fever Pitch."
  27. Reviewed by: Eric Alt
    One of those infuriating films that can't allow this already dramatic situation to fester and develop on its own.
  28. This is one of those sadistic exercises that puts its characters through the wringer without saying anything true or meaningful.
  29. A deadly earnest and deadly dull psychological thriller.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. MorganW.
    Jan 31, 2009
    I think this is one of the best films of 2007. I disagree with those who think that there is no redemption in this story. It rivals films like The Believer in its portrayal of internal conflict, and it is a beautiful (and heartbreaking) study of morality. This film is undoubtedly worth seeing. Full Review »
  2. Dec 14, 2010
    The only criterium I have for liking or not liking a movie is: do I keep watching ? This one, I definitely did keep watching. The acting is superb, the unfolding drama and conflict are intense. I wonder why these movies never really make it to the big screen... Full Review »
  3. TonyB.
    Jun 17, 2008
    What could have and should have been a fine film is not. The main problem here is that the two nominal leads are its weakest links. Joaquin Phoenix is not able for a minute to evoke the sympathy and compassion we should feel for him. Grief is not depicted well when it becomes obsessive. Mark Ruffalo is so obviously the "bad" guy that one wonders if the people around him are in a coma that prevents them from seeing him for what he is. Jennifer Connolly's role should have been more fleshed out, especially since she has a clear grasp of what it is all about. Full Review »