The Embalmer


Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

Critic Reviews

  1. 80
    Skillfully directed and adroitly acted.
  2. Garrone's movie finds a disconcerting niche between edgy character thriller and black comedy.
  3. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Director Matteo Garrone's measured approach and soulfully humane focus combine to dignify the characters, allowing the tale of solitude, longing and sorrow to inch quietly under the viewer's skin.
  4. 80
    A bummer, but one that manages to stick to its depraved convictions until the strange and bitter end.
  5. From start to finish Garrone charges The Embalmer, a richly visual film, with an effective ambiguity and sense of foreboding.
  6. At moments, the story skirts uncomfortably close to the grotesque. But this atmospheric oddity delivers a surprisingly sensitive take on the overwhelming ache of loneliness.
  7. Mahieux gives a bravura performance as the title character. Director Garrone keeps the story involving even though it doesn't quite live up to the star's strong talents.
  8. 75
    Director and co-writer Matteo Garrone infuses The Embalmer with a spooky eroticism. The film is dark, both in theme and visual composition.
  9. The movie, a keen look at the way passion unravels and obsession destroys, creates a black mood, a sense of truth and an enduring chill that stay with you.
  10. 75
    Masterful at concealing its true nature and surprising us with the turns of the story.
  11. 70
    An effectively macabre and fiendishly entertaining tale of lust, unrequited love and the fine art of taxidermy.
  12. The screenplay evokes this psychosexual power struggle with perfect accuracy and finely tuned performances.
  13. 70
    Mahieux, who is superb, methodically paint Peppino as a man for whom solitude is torture.
  14. 70
    By the film's underwater finale, director Matteo Garrone has bestowed a tragic stature on the pint-size Othello who loves "not wisely but too well."
  15. 60
    Both the actor and the character deserve a better movie, one that might have channeled the latter's desires into more than just a few rote genre thrills.
  16. A dark, unsettling drama from Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone.

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