Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  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: Mike McCahill
    Sep 22, 2014
    60
    It’s not as focused as its predecessor, but its best sequences rehydrate the mind.
  9. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Sep 1, 2014
    60
    Beautiful to look at but lacking a strong point.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
User Score
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No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 27, 2014
    7
    I'm not exaggerating when I say that Watermark has some of the most staggering imagery I've seen in film all year. A film about a topic asI'm not exaggerating when I say that Watermark has some of the most staggering imagery I've seen in film all year. A film about a topic as vast as water is bound to have it's reach exceed it's grasp. The attempt at unifying these gorgeous visual vignettes into an all-consuming theme is not so much a failure as it is incredibly vague. This movie is less a work of Terrence Malick (sans the poetic narration and disjointed narrative) than it is one of those 'OFF THE AIR' segments that plays on Adult Swim at four in the morning but stretched out to a feature-length runtime, which I see no real problem in. There are some slight gripes to be had. Each 'storyline' is so disparate from the next that a jarring effect is created. Maybe this is to make commentary on how universal and diverse the application of water around the world is, but, if so, the immense imagery we have on display here is wasted on such a tame thesis. I would have preferred the film simply overwhelmed me with sheer color and visual scope (which it has in abundance, believe me) than attempt to label some sort of 'meaning' to it. The human aspect of Watermark is severely lacking, is what I mean to say. In spite of most of the astounding shots of dams and farms having elements of humanity, when an interview is conducted or the focus of the film steers clear of it's cinematography, my interest seems to drift. But when it's all said and done, once Watermark hits a stride of optic grandeur, it certainly leaves it's MARK. LEEL LEEL LEEL. Seriously, though, check this out. If anything, convert some still shots from the movie to a slideshow background on your iMac. You won't be disappointed. Full Review »