The Invisible War


Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Jul 5, 2012
    Rules and regulations, which the military is very good at, are about behavior. Law is about justice. The Invisible War makes all too clear that the military isn't very good at justice.
  2. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Jun 15, 2012
    The Invisible War is that rare, issues-driven documentary that is so powerful it's apt to change minds.
  3. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jun 28, 2012
    Dick focuses on a handful of women who were sexually assaulted while on active duty, but they're only the tip of the iceberg; according to the film, which draws all its statistics from government reports, more than 20 percent of female veterans have been assaulted.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 27, 2012
    The film's implication, quite starkly, is that a strong military doesn't favor crybabies, that a certain degree of rape is unavoidable - and inevitably, that some women may have been asking for it. One hearing noted that the victim was dressed provocatively. In her official uniform.
  5. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jun 21, 2012
    The intense interviews and damning statistics (20 percent of all female personnel have experienced sexual assault) do the work of whipping up outrage.
  6. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jun 25, 2012
    The Invisible War might be best judged as a piece of activism, in which case it's already succeeding - after seeing the film in April, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta took the responsibility for sexual assault investigations away from commanding officers and put them in the hands of higher-ranking officials.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jun 21, 2012
    Every adult who owes a debt of gratitude to American soldiers should see Kirby Dick's heartbreaking documentary about sexual violence in the military.
  8. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Jun 22, 2012
    For sheer infuriation value, you can't do much better than Kirby Dick's quietly scathing documentary on rape in the US military.
  9. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jun 21, 2012
    Make no mistake, this is advocacy cinema; interviews with Defense Department and military officials notwithstanding, there's not much effort, on Dick's part or anyone else's, to consider any point of view besides the victims' and those who love or speak for them. That's what makes it difficult to watch. And that's what makes it necessary.
  10. Jun 17, 2012
    Kirby Dick's spartan use of graphics and statistics conveys arguments with little grandstanding.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jun 20, 2012
    Though Dick focuses heavily on just a few women, The Invisible War builds to a stunning montage of victim after victim telling their story to the camera without pseudonyms or silhouettes.
  12. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jun 16, 2012
    Kirby Dick's shocking investigation into widespread sexual assault in the U.S. military is an urgent call to action.
  13. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 21, 2012
    This means that the violations chronicled in The Invisible War are compounded by a deep and terrible betrayal, which ripples outward from the various branches of the service into the society as a whole. This is not a movie that can be ignored.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jun 21, 2012
    Repressing its rage to tell an important story, The Invisible War identifies soldiers who are true heroes because they dared to fight for justice.
  15. Reviewed by: Ken McIntyre
    Mar 10, 2014
    Directed with straightforward economy, The Invisible War sheds much-needed light on a very dark secret.
  16. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Jun 15, 2012
    An aptly infuriating expose of sexual abuse within the U.S. military, Kirby Dick's documentary The Invisible War calls high-ranking officials to account for turning a blind eye to a violent epidemic.
  17. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Jun 15, 2012
    The Invisible War, though revelatory, is perhaps the most straightforward film yet from a director who likes to broach the fault lines of sex and society.
  18. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jun 28, 2012
    Dick, whose films include a revealing expose about the movie industry's film ratings board, has created yet another galvanizing call to action with The Invisible War.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Nov 5, 2012
    It's hard not to conflate the content with the film itself and its construction. I suppose with investigative documentary film-making, you canIt's hard not to conflate the content with the film itself and its construction. I suppose with investigative documentary film-making, you can name a project a success when the content has been investigated fully, when the process of creation advances the body of knowledge and understanding on the topic, when it is pieced together in a way that is coherent and yet, in a way that keeps you interested, pulls at the heartstrings and tells a fascinating real story. This film is a good investigative documentary. It is good for being the 21st century last resort for exposure on real issues that are ignored by systems in place. The craft is almost secondary but done well enough not to be noticeable or impeding. This is a film people should watch, particularly americans. It is a real eye opener not only from the incidences of sexual assault documented in the US military, but more importantly I feel, the effect this has on the ordinary people who do not deserve it, who literally have their psyches devastated. It is not an easy or fun watch, but an important one. Well put together and illuminating. Much respect to all involved in the project. This film will fill you with anger at the horrendous chauvinism, cultural violence and irresponsibility at the heart of one of american's biggest institutions. We are nowhere in this world without films, books, music that endeavour to improve us like this one does. Full Review »
  2. Jan 4, 2014
    These are the same people that are invading Muslim countries on the false charge of freeing women from the tyranny of the islamic headscarfThese are the same people that are invading Muslim countries on the false charge of freeing women from the tyranny of the islamic headscarf among other Full Review »
  3. Jan 23, 2013