White King, Red Rubber, Black Death Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: This documentary is the true, astonishing story of what King Leopold II did in the Congo. (ArtMattan Productions)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. 88
    British documentarian Peter Bate frames a mix of archival materials and re-creations with a "trial" at which Leopold listens to testimony against him from within a wood-and-glass booth, like Nazi Adolf Eichmann at Nuremberg.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    A stunning indictment of Belgium's brutal colonization of the Congo in the late 19th century, Brit documaker Peter Bate's White King, Red Rubber, Black Death illustrates how European exploitation in Africa caused irreparable damage to the continent.
  3. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    A remarkable triumph of documentary filmmaking. It is impossible to walk away from this film without being jolted.
  4. 63
    Bate is to be congratulated for reminding the world of Leopold's wickedness, even if he does OD on re-enactments.
  5. Unfortunately, Bate saddles his otherwise compelling chronicle with awkward re-creations and an aggressively overbearing narration.
  6. Although too compressed by half, the film manages to recreate what, at one point, the hectoring narrator will call an "archaeology of repression."
  7. 60
    Regrettably, Bate uses many of the tools of tabloid television in making his case, including heavy-handed reenactments, an ominous, sinister score, and overly dramatic narration delivered in a voice shaking with outrage.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 27, 2014
    White King, Red Rubber, Black Death is a very accurate, organized documentary on the Belgian agendas in the Congo, and why rubber was such a valuable asset to their economy. It manages to tell the story from the oppressed side's point of view, most of the time, a side not looked at in these kind of documentaries. Expand