Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Unprecedented in its intellectual ambition, this is endlessly stimulating; it probably tries for too much, but it shames many other contemporary essays that try for too little.
  2. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    The Ister asks you not to think, but to think hard. Your reward, given in proportion to your level of attention, commitment and participation, is to see the simplest things in a new light, possessed of vast new dimensions.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Tyro helmers David Barison and Daniel Ross have sunk their teeth into a heady intellectual stew, and results are invigorating thanks to the filmmakers' inspired linkage of images and ideas and commentaries from three of the world's leading philosophers.
  4. 70
    The headiest, head-scratching-est, damnedest, most demanding movie opening this week in New York, The Ister could be simply described as a philosophical travelogue.
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    'Highbrow' might be the best way to sum it all up. Interesting and stimulating, if not always successful.
  6. A film about profound ideas deserved more imagination.

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