indieWIRE's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
For 761 reviews, this publication has graded:
  • 76% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 22% lower than the average critic
On average, this publication grades 14.3 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)
Average Movie review score: 76
Highest review score: 100 The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
Lowest review score: 0 Pixels
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 761
761 movie reviews
  1. Epic in scope yet unassuming throughout, Linklater's incredibly involving chronicle marks an unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling.
  2. A nuanced tale of mutual attraction that reflects a filmmaker and cast operating at the height of their powers, rendering complex circumstances in strikingly personal terms.
  3. More than a powerful elegy, 12 Years a Slave is a mesmerizing triumph of art and polemics: McQueen turns a topic rendered distant by history into an experience that, short of living through the terrible era it depicts, makes you feel as if you've been there.
  4. Gravity lets you visit space without sugarcoating its dangers. It's a brilliant portrait of technology gone wrong that uses it just right.
  5. Ever as it casts their future prospects in doubt, Virunga concludes by envying the apes’ perspective most of all.
  6. Bigelow delivers an acute realization of the mission's execution that's eerily in sync with the way it played in the popular imagination. Visually, the events unfold as a mashup of shadowy movements with flashes of green night vision. It's simultaneously predictable and tense.
  7. It's a frantic microcosm of life itself.
  8. Before Midnight is the rare cinematic achievement that implicates alert viewers in its mission to understand the mysteries of intimate connections.
  9. Mr. Turner is a first-rate match of director and subject. Less an explication of the man's genius than an immersion into its essence.
  10. Pull back from the moment-to-moment thrill of Inside Out and it gets very deep: The scenario implicitly questions standard definitions of free will by suggesting that we're all slaves to ghosts in the machine.
  11. First Cousin Once Removed benefits from the clarity provided by Honig's published poetry, which surfaces in voiceover narration and words on the screen, rendering the undulations of his life in sweeping abstractions.
  12. Although not exactly heartwarming, Amour has a more contained vision of human relationships than Haneke's previous films without sacrificing its bleak foundation. It's his most conventional movie about death -- and the most poignant.
  13. Hoss' portrayal of a woman at odds with her surroundings is in a class by itself.
  14. An ode to art for art's sake, Inside Llewyn Davis is the most innocent movie of the Coens' career, which in their case is a downright radical achievement.
  15. Rather than building towards the finality of a single climax, Leviathan injects several of them into the tapestry of its elegant design.
  16. Compared to "The Act of Killing," Oppenheimer's technique with The Look of Silence is deceptively simple, but it applies a more traditional style of documentary storytelling to extraordinary goals.
  17. Stories We Tell marks the finest of Polley's filmmaking skills by blending intimacy and intrigue to remarkable effect.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Ida
    Pawlikowski doesn't punish his viewers, he simply challenges them. Take the vow to dedicate your attention to Ida and you’ll be rewarded deeply.
  18. The Witch becomes a focused portrait of fixed rituals crumbling in the face of inexplicable forces, evoking the fear of change lurking in the shadows at every moment. Despite the setting, its scares are uniquely contemporary.
  19. Her
    Certainly his most deeply felt achievement, Her is both distinctly Jonze-like and something altogether different, as if the filmmaker has gone through a software update not unlike his artificial character.
  20. A remarkable refashioning of the Holocaust drama that reignites the setting with extraordinary immediacy, Son of Saul is both terrifying to watch and too gripping in its moment-to-moment to look away.
  21. Aferim! amounts to a serious endeavor designed to explore many facets of its era through the lens of people trapped in it. Their crude dialogue, real as it may be, hints at comedic possibilities while offering a shrewd look at people defined by their circumstances.
  22. Anchored by a sensational Charlotte Rampling as its lead, the movie combines Haigh's perceptive style with shades of Mike Leigh's "Another Year" to create a quietly moving and deceptively tragic look at aging romance haunted by past mysteries.
  23. Story comes second to Russell over the rhythms of well-timed bickering, which is a blessing and a curse in American Hustle.
  24. Playing make believe with murderers, Oppenheimer risks the possibility of empowering them. However, by humanizing psychopathic behavior, The Act of Killing is unparalleled in its unsettling perspective on the dementias associated with dictatorial extremes.
  25. At first galvanizing in its depiction of survival amid dire circumstances, "The Overnighters" transforms into a devastating portrait of communal unrest.
  26. Much of the movie relies on Cotillard's jittery expressions as she veers from tentatively hopeful to despondent and back again, sometimes within a matter of minutes, reflecting the ever-changing stability of job security among the lower class.
  27. It may go without saying that Poetry adopts a lyrical tone, but this forms the crux of its appeal. In this case, the title says it all.
  28. The Artist plays around with the distinction between silent and sound cinema, resulting in the superficial entertainment value of a high concept film school joke. But it's a charming and supremely gorgeous joke -- sometimes too clever for its own good, other times not clever enough, and always at least an attractive diversion.
  29. "Mad Max" doesn't just depict conflicts with evildoers in a tattered existence. It delivers a rare alternative to aggressively stupid action movies. At a time of great need, Max rides again.
  30. The cumulative impact of The Arbor is one of claustrophobia; at times, the endlessly downbeat adventures of Dunbar and her offspring grow almost unbearably morose.
    • 88 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    Revealing both the dangers and payoffs of artistic ambition, Whiplash is sure to establish Chazelle as a directorial force to be reckoned with.
  31. While it has many familiar ingredients — from the atmosphere to the ensemble of Anderson regulars in nearly every role — in its allegiance to Anderson's vision, everything about The Grand Budapest Hotel is a welcome dose of originality.
  32. While it doesn't always earn its heft, Winter Sleep is both subdued and rich in details, its plot growing slowly over a series of extensive conversations. It's a robust, challenging experience he's been building toward with his previous features, as well as an adventurous step above them.
  33. Kechiche excels at capturing his protagonist's emergence in the world.
  34. Poitras, an expert filmmaker as keyed into pace and mood as the topic they support, delivers a mesmerizing look at both how Snowden managed to release his information as well as why it all matters.
  35. Moment to moment, Birdman manages to shift gears, its roaming camera revealing new surprises as it glides along. That degree of unpredictability provides it with the ultimate response to the sea of formulaic mediocrities at the center of its critique.
  36. The visual collage retains a consistent melancholy, resulting in an experience that's both deeply affecting and-since José never actually appears on-camera-utterly detached.
  37. Despite the unruly music at its center, the filmmaker has crafted a uniformly gentle ode to growing up.
  38. The movie is an impressively realized work of minimalist storytelling that foregrounds Redford's physicality more than any other role in his celebrated career. His performance defines the movie to an almost shockingly experimental degree.
  39. The magic of Uncle Boonmee is that it makes all viewers feel like the strange ones.
  40. Director Bennett Miller has produced a warm and generally agreeable character study about the pratfalls of athletic institutions and the willingness to think outside the box.
  41. Strickland generates a discomfiting quality that keeps the mystery of his world in play. Above all else, he taps into the intangible elements of sexual attraction by bathing them in ambiguities.
  42. At two and a half hours, Lincoln contains only a single battle scene in its opening seconds. The rest is pure talk, a keen dramatization of Doris Kearns Goodwin's tome "Team of Rivals," that delivers an overview of Lincoln's crowning achievement in chunks of strategy talk.
  43. It portrays the struggle from the inside, from about as far from the filter of mainstream media as one can get, capturing tense shootouts and the extremes of revolutionary spirit in unnerving detail.
  44. It's a sad, thoughtful depiction of midwestern eccentrics regretting the past and growing bored of the present, ideas that Payne regards with gentle humor and pathos but also something of a shrug.
  45. Rather than relish in the stark proceedings, Manuscripts Don't Burn preys on its viewers' imagination, leaving several deaths and other dreary outcomes off-screen. In the unbearable tension of its final moments, the movie arrives at an expected destination, but the outcome stings more than anything preceding it.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 83 Critic Score
    The Babadook isn't a transcendent horror film. But its ability to handle and manipulate the conventional tropes apparent in so many of its peers makes it a satisfying ride.
  46. What Now? Remind Me sketches out the tragedy of living a full life and being aware of it slipping away.
  47. On the whole, Manakamana succeeds by creating the ongoing anticipation of something, anything to happen next, a wholly unique sensation specific to its inventive design.
  48. Herzog naturally plays up the enigma at hand with epic grandeur, occasionally overdoing it but usually hitting the mark.
  49. The movie's stakes are alternately personal and political, but Petzold's skill truly comes into focus in the tense climax, when those two aims come together with a powerful act of defiance.
  50. Ignore the precise religious context and it stands perfectly well as a restrained look at personal convictions in the face of certain death.
  51. Baker once again manages to match underrepresented faces in American cinema with material that lets their personalities shine.
  52. More traditional in terms of atmosphere and plot, Drug War nevertheless features a tense, unstoppable momentum, a morally ambiguous protagonist and hugely involving action scenes.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 91 Critic Score
    As told through Heller’s acutely sensitive vision, the result is less off-putting and more of an authentic insight into a perspective grossly underrepresented in American cinema.
  53. Equally a slick political thriller, intelligent period piece and sly Hollywood satire, Ben Affleck's Argo maintains a careful balance between commentary and entertainment value.
  54. For all the energy of Gerwig and Kirke's shared chemistry and the lively dialogue that compliments it, the story of Mistress America never keeps pace, ultimately sagging into formula to the detriment of the potential displayed by its compelling protagonists.
  55. Steve James's The Interrupters runs long, but earns its heft.
  56. If nothing else, this memorable effort eloquently displays Hushpuppy's fragile understanding of her world, where the only certainty is that nothing lasts forever. That makes "Beasts" into a gigantic triumph even when it falls apart.
  57. The tense, involving result confirms Sciamma's mastery over the coming-of-age drama, a genre too often reduced to its simplest ingredients.
  58. Tales from the Grim Sleeper concludes by offering up the haunting possibility that even if the killer has been caught, the systemic failures that let him get away with it for so long remain firmly in place.
  59. I had to see the new version twice to realize that there's so much to appreciate about this multilayered production.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 67 Critic Score
    This particular tale of sound and fury signifies more than nothing, but only just.
  60. As with "Shotgun Stories," Nichols assembles a tense portrait of blue-collar life, while deepening his thematic interests and working on a bigger scale. Burrowing into the subconscious of a damaged man, he delivers a modern American epic with extraordinary restraint.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Critic Score
    Amy
    Kapadia leaves it up to the audience to determine whether Winehouse's situation could truly have gone another way. Whether he has or hasn’t captured the true essence of the singer may require further debate, but what’s beyond question is that Amy is an extraordinary, powerful work.
  61. Farhadi's new movie confirms his unique ability to explore how constant chatter and anguished outbursts obscure the capacity for honest communication.
  62. More meditation than movie, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is bound to mystify, awe and exasperate in equal measures.
  63. Reichardt crafts a highly textured narrative that both invokes the mythology of the American frontier and cleverly transcends it.
  64. Fruitvale is largely sustained by Jordan's career-making performance and the way Coogler uses it to analyze his subject...It's a fascinating investigation into the contrast between media perception and intimate truths.
  65. A rich, almost impermeably strange example of Costa's slow-burn approach to abstract storytelling, Horse Money is more subdued and cryptic than its predecessors, to the point where it might be more appropriately described as a cinematic tone poem.
  66. There's no doubting that Holy Motors is an ungodly mess of images and moments, some more alluring than others, but it sure leaves a mark.
  67. Even when that story drags, Moonrise Kingdom could be appreciated on mute.
  68. Unapologetically long and messy, Snowpiercer offers an unhinged ride that's worth the investment for its mixture of batty personalities, consistently impressive visuals and mad swipes at heavy symbolism jam-packed together.
  69. There's a adrenaline rush even in the problematic finish, an eagerness that drives the filmmaking so that Looper is thrilling to watch even when it falls apart.
  70. With a keen eye for the capacity of fine art to address a complex range of attitudes and experiences, Museum Hours effectively applies Cohen's existing strengths to a familiar scenario and rejuvenates it by delivering a powerfully contemplative look at the transformative ability of all art.
  71. Despite the cerebral formalism that pushes it forward, Mond has made a genuine tearjerker.
  72. The Descendants constantly hovers on the brink of a dark comedy. But it never takes the big plug. By treading carefully, Payne has created his warmest, most earnest work, if not his best.
  73. The narrative only really stumbles because its tone never manages to convince on the level that McConaughey's performance eventually does. With its subdued approach, Dallas Buyers Club stops just short of an emotional payoff.
  74. Though Villeneuve magnifies the pervasive dread surrounding the modern drug war, he's better at conveying the thrill of creeping through that battlefield than the complex set of interests sustaining it.
  75. '71
    '71 constantly thrills without sensationalizing its surprises. The war-is-hell ethos drives it forward, so that the movie retains its suspense in conjunction with its dour outlook.
  76. The movie makes a strong case against the captivity of killer whales under sub-circus conditions, but the stance is made even more horrifying because so little has changed in the history of the organization. Blackfish is less balanced investigation than full-on takedown of a broken system.
  77. The movie works best when probing the nature of human interactions with Nim: He appears to form a close friendship with the stoner psych major Bob Ingersoll, not only foraging for food with him but also sharing joints.
  78. Xavier Dolan's I Killed My Mother marks the emergence of an exciting new filmmaking talent. The Montreal actor, a mere 20 years old, displays a startlingly mature perspective on human behavior in his triple threat position as writer-director-star.
  79. The grim subtext of The Wind Rises goes largely unacknowledged, leading to a gaping hole in this otherwise beautifully realized narrative that celebrates the power of curiosity as a motivating force.
  80. Pina is a beautiful, heartfelt ode and a delicious feast for the eyes, but not an essential work of art on its own terms.
  81. It's hard to imagine Captain Phillips in the hands of any other filmmaker -- and Captain Phillips in the hands of Greengrass looks exactly like anyone familiar with his work would expect. It does justice to the material even while playing too conscientiously by the book.
  82. Maintains a funny and sad focus on its single petulant subject.
  83. Though slow-going for much of its running time, Arbor's delicate tale culminates with a frighteningly choreographed tragedy, but tacks on a beautifully evocative and mostly wordless epilogue that carries the semblance of progress.
  84. On the whole, by ceding control to his subject, Hawke makes a persuasive case for Bernstein's guru-like outlook on the value of finding personal gratification in art above all else.
  85. Heinzerling's beautifully shot, painfully intimate look at the aging couple's struggle to survive amid personal and financial strain is both heartbreaking and intricately profound. This is a story about creative desire so strong it hurts.
  86. No matter its conceptual intentions, It Follows never ventures too far from visceral horror. Mitchell populates a number of scenes with well-timed jump scares as the being frequently bursts out of the shadows or appears in unexpected forms, while the score provides a screaming punctuation mark.
  87. Though at times almost too peculiar for its own good, The Lobster brings Lanthimos' distinct blend of morbid, deadpan humor and surrealism to a broader canvas without compromising his ability to deliver another thematically rich provocation.
  88. The climax is a little too clever and far-fetched-an unnecessarily neat finale for a movie that works fine when dealing in broad strokes, some of which are nothing short of masterful.
  89. Ornette isn't just a love letter to the liberty of jazz rhythms; it excels at expressing them.
  90. Taking its time to let the world take shape, Short Term 12 builds to an involving series of mini-climaxes without tidying up every loose end.
  91. At times, Frances Ha strains from emphasizing the characters' snarkiness and disregarding plot. By routinely going nowhere, however, the movie eventually finds a distinctive voice that carries it through.
  92. The central appeal of The Trip is that it's only a comedy in bits and pieces. Overall, however, Winterbottom constructs a thoughtful and generally sad portrait of Coogan's persona as a man unsure of his next move.
  93. Anchored by a funny and especially credible performance by newcomer Miles Teller, Ponsoldt's follow up to his alcoholism portrait "Smashed" has all the hallmarks of a bittersweet teen drama with flashes of realistic comedy on par with "Say Anything" and "The Breakfast Club."
  94. Big Words at times seems like it's heading towards a microbudget version of "Hustle and Flow," but Drumming aims for a much smarter and subdued look at the various regrets and hang-ups haunting men of a certain age. Their blackness is only one piece of the puzzle.

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