Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. That this mess should come from the hand of Istvan Szabo, the brilliant Hungarian director of "Mephisto" and "Colonel Redl," is the real shocker.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Lizd
    May 17, 2007
    A tough movie to watch because of the constant barrage of gratuitous ex and violence. Good story though--good acting. Very good cinematography. Many wonderful moments. Full Review »
  2. MaybeJustNotHungarianEnough
    May 17, 2007
    When the film depicts political events and their effects on individuals, it's gripping. William Hurt is devastatingly convincing as the post-war Nazi hunger who falls victim to the zealous machine of retribution that he helps to build. (He is all the more convincing for his matter-of-fact American accent -- none of the 'mid-Atlantic' neutrality which is supposed to make the characters sound authentically European -- because it serves to remind North American viewers that they are just as prone to the ideological madness that overtook Central Europe.) My problem with the film is that much of the personal drama, especially the ebb and flow of romance, is less convincing. We never really seem to understand why characters fall in and out of love with each other; it's as though there just isn't time, for all the length of the film. What was the first sign that Ignatz's brother is also in love with his cousin/sister-in-law? Seemingly, it just happens. Why does she then leave Ignatz? If he really was so cold and rational, didn't she get an inkling of this before they married? Rachel Weizz's character seems to be in the film just to be another temptress, as though her suddenly appearing to declare her passion for her brother-in-law is supposed to move us all. The whole sub-plot seems to be thrown into the film like a gaudy extra sweater in a stuffed suitcase. One also doesn't understand the youngest son's love interest, except that the director seemed to believe that any decent Hungarian has to have his head turned by a sultry blonde. We know so little of their feelings that we agree when she complains that he only wants to lift her skirt in some wood. Still, there will be many viewers who will disagree with me, and they should find (and find the time to enjoy) this moving and ultimately inspiring film. Full Review »
  3. ElliottH.
    Jun 4, 2006
    A complex terrific movie. Long movies (3 hours) tend to be something special-especially good or especially bad. This one is especially good. If the movie can capture your interest and attention for 3 hours, it has an advantage shorter movies can't match. As you invest your time, you begin to care for the characters in a way beyond criticism. When I start reacting viscerally to a movie it gets a 10 from me. Full Review »