Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Apr 17, 2014
    90
    If Watermark does nothing else, it will make you question society's contradictory view of water use.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 4, 2014
    90
    Despite the staggering range of material Watermark manages to present — Burtynsky’s five-year undertaking is certainly the most encompassing survey any one artist has ever dedicated to the subject — it’s still just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 17, 2014
    80
    Here's a case of images in the service of important ideas, rather than entertainment, yet they could hardly be more powerful, from roaring torrents released by a dam in China to a lyrical helicopter shot of a glistening river in British Columbia.
  4. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Apr 3, 2014
    80
    Always arresting and sometimes troubling, Watermark — aside from the odd comment here and there — neither lectures nor argues.
  5. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Apr 18, 2014
    75
    The documentary Watermark is close to the cinematic equivalent of a coffee-table book. It relies heavily on visuals and offers minimal context. The project has a pro-environment feeling, which comes across implicitly, not through browbeating or preaching.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 10, 2014
    75
    Watermark feels less focused than “Manufactured Landscapes.” While it presents us with awful and/or awe-inspiring images and ideas, the movie lacks the tightening grip that made the earlier work so unforgettable.
  7. Reviewed by: Kenji Fujishima
    Mar 31, 2014
    75
    By keeping explanatory talking-heads interviews to a minimum, the filmmakers put their trust in the audience to draw their own conclusions based on what they present to us.
  8. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Sep 1, 2014
    60
    Beautiful to look at but lacking a strong point.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Apr 2, 2014
    60
    There’s a difference between an exhibition of one photographer’s work and a speedy tour of a museum’s entire photography wing, and Watermark feels more like the latter, despite Burtynsky’s involvement.
  10. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Apr 4, 2014
    58
    Unfortunately, while the documentary’s points are clear, its desire to articulate them primarily through contrasts neuters some of its persuasiveness.
  11. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Apr 10, 2014
    50
    It’s as if the movie’s many pieces are supposed to be like impressionistic brush strokes. When seen together, the result is pretty to look at. But it’s not as meaningful as it should be.
  12. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Apr 1, 2014
    50
    Watermark is a documentary filled with images both beautiful and wrenching, yet the film as a whole is a disappointment.
  13. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    May 1, 2014
    40
    Although the visuals are spectacular — a barren Colorado River looks like a landscape from a science-fiction epic — there's not much else here to grab on.

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