Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. The result is a history lesson both invaluable and horrific.
  2. Yet S21, unlike many documentaries about the Nazi era, isn't a sickening panorama of brutality. Shot on video, it's quiet and intimate.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Shattering documentary.
  4. 80
    S21 is understated and unforgettable; in its modest way, this movie is as horrific an exposure to evil as Lanzmann's "Shoah."
  5. 80
    Mr. Rithy Panh makes telling use of a survivor whose ability to communicate lends itself to the subject. The tragedy is that Mr. Vann Nath's powers are used to illuminate these horrors.
  6. Modest but nonetheless devastating documentary.
  7. 80
    Cinema at its most intellectually honest and morally necessary.
  8. 75
    Man's inhumanity to man is gruesomely detailed in S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine.
  9. 70
    A harrowing, unblinking look at the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge, the genocidal regime that by some accounts killed off more than a quarter of Cambodia's population between 1975 and 1979.
  10. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    This is clearly not a pleasant film to watch on many levels.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard M. Porton
    The efforts of victims and victimizers to come to terms with historical trauma are admirable, but the film is too tough-minded to espouse a facile discourse of "healing" in the face of genocide driven by ideology run amok.
  12. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    There's no shortage of existing docus on the subject, and Panh's doesn't bring either a fresh enough angle or enough new material to the table to justify its length.
User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 3 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 8, 2012
    As a foreigner living in Asia I have been able to go to Cambodia and see Ankor Wat, but not before seeing this film. It is disturbing but very thought provoking to highlight the terrible things that happened in this country to millions of people-as most of the world looked away. Brother #1, Year many things to consider............. Full Review »