Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. With rich irony, The World juxtaposes the teasing, grand images of the outside world's wonders with the insular community and the mundane lives of the park employees.
  2. This is a brilliant, if challenging, film.
  3. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    A heartbreaking, beautiful movie that gains strength from its deep characterizations.
  4. A film of wonderful looseness and innovation. Set free to film fakes, the director is the real thing.
  5. 100
    A movie with the visual expanse of a John Ford western and the ensemble grandeur and long takes of a Robert Altman picture. The movie is definitely Chinese in content, but it exudes American style and spirit.
  6. The title of Jia Zhang-ke's 2004 masterpiece, The World -- a film that's hilarious and upsetting, epic and dystopian -- is an ironic pun and a metaphor.
  7. 90
    The comic, tragic and monumentally beautiful new film by writer-director Jia Zhangke (Platform).
  8. It's a magnificent film – thoughtful but not distant, aesthetically and technically sophisticated but staged with restraint and delicacy.
  9. 88
    The director is becoming a master of blending the political and the personal with eloquence and deceptive lightness.
  10. Jia's compassion for the drifting souls struggling to create a life for themselves in such a transitory existence makes the metaphor resonant.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew Sun
    It's a splendid microcosm of contemporary China's aspirations and shortcomings.
  12. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Maverick Chinese director Jia Zhangke examines the rapidly changing face of China as its economy edges further toward a modified form of market capitalism with yet another complex, multicharacter masterpiece.
  13. 80
    If a movie can be stark and rapturous at the same time, this is that movie.
  14. 80
    On a first viewing, the movie seemed a dilution of the formal strategies Jia had perfected-at once less dispassionate and less empathetic. After a repeat viewing, it still strikes me as Jia's fourth-best film (that it's one of the year's best says plenty about the level at which he's working), but it's more apparent that The Worl d's muffled emotional impact should be understood as a function of its setting.
  15. 75
    The movie is long and slow. Either you will fall into its rhythm, or you will grow restless.
  16. Loosely constructed, The World drifts along pleasantly for much of its two-and-a-half-hour running time. Mr. Jia has a terrific eye and an almost sculptural sense of film space (especially in close quarters), and he brings texture and density to even the most nondescript rooms.
  17. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    While the film feels overlong at two hours 20 minutes, there's a seductive stillness to its enveloping mood.
  18. It's a fine film, full of small epiphanies.
  19. 63
    Jia's message is that globalization has failed to help the Chinese masses. We hear you, dude, but did you really need 143 minutes to get your point across?
  20. The World has a pokey pace, but it presents a uniquely powerful look at the new big kid in the global economy.
  21. Reviewed by: Stina Chyn
    One of the oddest and surely the longest cinematic experiences you may ever encounter.
  22. 50
    The World's dull weave of frustrated romances and worker exploitation is far too obvious, and Jia can only relieve the tedium so many times.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Aug 26, 2010
    Jia Zhangke's tale of an ensemble of characters working at a theme park in Beijing (supposedly meant to capture the entire world within its walls) is rife with symbolism and cultural significance, but it works best as a beautiful and arresting drama. Definitely one of the best films to come out of China in the past 10 years by one of the most talented rising directors. Full Review »
  2. ZivS
    May 15, 2006
    Behind the scenes look at the lives of 20-30 year olds in China all taking place inside a giant theme park. That was enough to get me to watch, and I'm glad I did. Full Review »