Metascore
45

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 19
  2. Negative: 4 out of 19
  1. Yes, Stone gets cozy with Hugo Chávez, soft-pedaling the Venezuelan president's crackdown tendencies, but he also captures South America in a paradigm shift, wrenching itself free of centuries of colonial control. The film is rose-colored agitprop, but it catches a current of history.
  2. Good-humored, illuminating and without cant, Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border is a rebuttal of what he views as the fulminations and lies of right-wing media at home and abroad regarding the socialist democracies of South America.
  3. 80
    Offers valuable historical, social and political context, particularly if you aren't an international-news junkie.
  4. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    75
    Engaging enough as polemics go, but unlikely to change many minds.
  5. But to be fair, Stone doesn't seem even to think he's offering the last word here. Rather, he's trying to offer the first word, or at least a first opportunity to hear the other side, unfiltered by television media.
  6. The aural and visual overload that marks most of the director's work is here in spades--few documentaries look and sound so distinctive.
  7. As anyone who remembers "JFK," his 1991 film about the Kennedy assassination, can attest, Mr. Stone has his own paranoid tendencies, but they are muted in this provocative, if shallow, exaltation of Latin American socialism.
  8. 58
    Incomplete, shrill and smug.
  9. 55
    Though he lavishes praise on his subjects for being hyper-masculine and free-thinking, Stone is downright girlish in his devotion, scoffing at charges made against the leaders rather than examining them.
  10. Reviewed by: Ethan Gilsdorf
    50
    Three minutes into the film, we feel the sharpness of Stone's ax to grind. It's dull to be told what to think.
  11. Sure, it's an interesting scene as he (Stone) chews the fat with Raul Castro, and coca leaves with Bolivia's Evo Morales. But his South of the Border can't be taken seriously, muchacho -- and if you think it can, well, I've got a primo cigar factory in Havana to sell you.
  12. Unabashedly one-sided, this biography of Chávez - and several other Latin American politicians - does raise some valid concerns about what Stone calls the "manipulative power of the media." So it's too bad he's as guilty of partisanship as the right-wing outlets he reviles.
  13. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    40
    Stone's film could have allowed political voices that are rarely present to get a fair, and critical hearing. Instead he near smooches them to death.
  14. Stone embarrasses himself by backing the wrong horse and then making a weak case for him.
  15. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    40
    The documentary offers little genuine information and no investigative research, adopting a style even more polemical than Stone's earlier docus on Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat.
  16. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    30
    The 70-minute movie -- which was co-written by the British-Pakistani commentator Tariq Ali, author of the 2006 study "Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope," and photographed in part by docu-doyen Albert Maysles -- is amateur night as cinema, as lopsided and cheerleadery as its worldview.
  17. 25
    Stone praises Latin America for turning toward "government of the people" (yet ignores Castro's lack of interest in democracy). But it's no wonder he's in such a sunny mood: We see him grow increasingly giddy while chewing coca leaves with Morales (a coca farmer who wants to make cocaine legal).
  18. 25
    Stone's film, more an act of boosterism than inquiry, is a tremendous missed opportunity.
  19. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    0
    South of the Border's subjects are masters at cooking bullshit, and Stone just eats it up.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 5, 2010
    10
    The flack that critics have aimed at this film is completely unjustified. The focus of the film is on countering years of blatant "big lie" propaganda aimed at Chavez and other Latin American nationalist leaders who have broken from U.S. domination. And the film makes its case regarding that propaganda onslaught very precisely and strongly, completely debunking it by using clips from U.S. news media and then countering with interviews and facts. The attack of the critics on this film is just one more example of that mendacious campaign, and if you miss this film because of it then you will yourself have become a victim of the U.S. media's propaganda. See this film and decide for yourself! Full Review »