Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 100
    An experience so engrossing it is like being buried in a new environment.
  2. It's an endurance test. Though never boring, the movie is a fairly long slog through the snow.
  3. At times it's plodding and inchoate, but there's certainly nothing else like it in the movies right now, and it has at least one great sequence.
  4. Its refusal to draw solid lines between "good" and "evil" characters is more sophisticated than the psychology of most current commercial pictures. It's well worth a trek to a theater adventurous enough to show it.
  5. Stunning, fully formed masterpiece.
  6. 100
    Nearly three hours long, and deliberately paced at that, this first feature ever in the Inuit language is a demanding experience. But the rewards for those who risk the journey are simply extraordinary.
  7. This long (nearly three hours), revelatory movie is both a thrilling adventure about endurance and survival, and an elegiac examination of centuries-old tribal culture, fast-fading in the new millennium.
  8. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Not only is it a reintroduction to a fascinating culture that has survived 4,000 years in a remote and most inhospitable climate, but it's also the first film ever directed by an Inuit filmmaker and featuring an all-Inuit cast.
  9. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    One of the most enthralling three hours you'll ever spend at the theater.
  10. 88
    More than once during The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat), it's easy to forget you're watching a movie.
  11. Exciting not as ethnography but as storytelling, as drama, and as filmmaking.
  12. The perfect antidote to the summer heat in Austin, more refreshing even than a dip in our chilly holy waters of Barton Springs.
  13. If you're put off by deliberate filmmaking (or subtitles, though the movie doesn't have much dialogue), you're in the wrong spot. If not, you'll see why voters gave "Atanarjuat," as it's officially called, a 2002 Oscar nomination for best foreign film.
  14. 90
    It's a difficult film to follow and at 172 minutes is maybe a half-hour too long. But simply as a sensory experience The Fast Runner is amazing.
  15. Don't miss The Fast Runner. If you do, you will deprive yourself of not only one of the most intriguing feature-film projects in decades and enough plain-spoken anthropology for three credits at Harvard, but one of the most flat-out entertaining movies of the year.
  16. 100
    A gorgeous, engrossing, utterly alien and fresh movie that has the human truth and impact of classic Greek myth and the overwhelming beauty and mastery of the greatest epic films.
  17. A landmark movie that becomes a priceless entryway into a distant land and its people, few of whom will ever seem as foreign and far away again.
  18. 100
    Not merely an interesting document from a far-off place; it is a masterpiece.
  19. 80
    Director Zacharias Kunuk captures that feeling well, but he never quite develops it into a theme epic enough to fill Atanarjuat's scope. His film is by turns mesmerizing and trying, with enough of the former to make the latter worthwhile.
  20. 75
    By all means, buy a ticket to The Fast Runner, but don't go expecting a masterpiece; actually, in its first hour, the dramaturgy and staging of scenes set in igloos are cramped and amateurish.
  21. 100
    So elemental in its means yet so cosmic in its drama, it could herald a rebirth of cinema.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    It is a ripping yarn and a spectacularly new and odd vision.
  23. Some may find it slow. I found it utterly spellbinding.
  24. 88
    It is an important, thoroughly bewitching work of art.
  25. 90
    An authentic and thrilling glimpse into Inuit culture and tradition.
  26. 90
    The first REALLY great mythic film of the summer has arrived.
  27. 88
    Magically transports the viewer across time and space. As it does so, it becomes a humbling reminder of the universality of the human experience.
  28. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    The first-ever screenplay written in the Inuit language, Inuktitut -- and the first time's a charm.
  29. Reviewed by: Patrick "Flick" Harrison
    This is quite possibly the best Canadian film of all time.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 46
  2. Negative: 6 out of 46
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    Being the first movie to ever be filmed in the Inuit language, Inuktitut, 'Atanarjuat' is as much a cultural edification as it is a sprawlingBeing the first movie to ever be filmed in the Inuit language, Inuktitut, 'Atanarjuat' is as much a cultural edification as it is a sprawling tribal drama. Director Zacharias Kunuk uses the most of this unique setting, taking the time to admire the vast, open wilderness and infuse the traditions and lifestyle of the Inuit people into the script. The major misstep of this movie is its running time - at 172 minutes, I felt some of the lesser plot points could have been cut to make watching the movie less daunting. All in all, though, 'Atanarjuat' ranks as one of the better things to come out of Canada. Full Review »
  2. JohnB
    Nov 16, 2009
    How can you not like this film? The artistry, the storyline, the photography - it's all fantastic.
  3. MeredithP.
    Jun 24, 2007
    Unique film that shows a way of life.