Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. 50
    The style of the telling--heavy and, ultimately, hollow--perfectly matches the substance of the story. But of course that lugubrious style makes House of Saddam a slog, even while it is precisely paced and seamlessly directed.
  2. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    67
    House plays like an edition of PBS' Frontline with actors.
  3. There are well-written and well-mounted scenes and some good performances. It is not without suspense. But even at four hours, House of Saddam feels incomplete and scattered--a lessened, not a heightened reality.
  4. House of Saddam offers a fascinating but limited portrait of the Iraqi tyrant.
  5. 50
    For its part, House of Saddam provides little insight into Saddam Hussein. Instead, it repeats truisms about well-reported events, many of them best remembered as TV images.
  6. 50
    Witnessing every ugly twist in Hussein's long and arduous path to self-destruction is more grueling than you'd expect, in part because this script doesn't paint Hussein in very many shades other than the pitch black of pure evil.
  7. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    60
    The production's appeal is all on the surfaces--in a moment where a killer's image is reflected in a fresh pool of blood, say, or a megalomaniac catches his own eye in the mirror.
  8. The perspective one gets from inside the House of Saddam is different than media reports from the outside and is, in itself, an important reason to tune in.
  9. Made jointly by the BBC and HBO, House of Saddam is well told and often lurid, a saga that blends the dirty work of despotism with the rituals of family gatherings, sibling rivalries and marital discontents.
  10. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    67
    It's a refreshing take and an interesting effort, if finally not quite a compelling one.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    40
    Beyond snapshots of his quarter-century of tyranny, though, there's precious little that penetrates the surface, despite vague references to his stepfather slapping him around.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    40
    As disrespectful to his victims as it may be to view The House of Saddam as entertainment, that is the only level where it succeeds.
  13. 80
    A chilling and riveting essay on the evils that men do and continue doing, year after year, century after century, millennium after millennium.

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