Encounters at the End of the World (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Encounters at the End of the World (2007)



Critic Consensus: Encounters at the End of the World offers a poignant study of the human psyche amid haunting landscapes.

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Movie Info

Werner Herzog confirms his standing as poet laureate of men in extreme situations with "Encounters at the End of the World." In this visually stunning exploration, Herzog travels to the Antarctic community of McMurdo Station, headquarters of the National Science Foundation and home to 1,100 people during the austral summer (Oct-Feb). Over the course of his journey, Herzog examines human nature and Mother nature, juxtaposing breathtaking locations with the profound, surreal, and sometimes absurd experiences of the marine biologists, physicists, plumbers, and truck drivers who choose to form a society as far away from society as one can get.more
Rating: G
Genre: Documentary
Directed By:
Written By: Werner Herzog
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 18, 2008
Box Office: $0.7M
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Critic Reviews for Encounters at the End of the World

All Critics (109) | Top Critics (30)

Seemingly off-hand, cumulatively imposing, utterly masterful.

Full Review… | April 24, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Damnably frustrating and fascinating, Herzog's questions deconstruct Earth's DNA in a scientific process going beyond statistics to ancestry or spirituality - an idea that we're witnesses and valets who are here and, sooner than we think, will be gone.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

Respect for the environment is not a moral issue for Herzog, but a common sense issue of survival. In the harsh environs of the polar regions, his point is made with crystalline clarity.

Full Review… | June 12, 2010

The footage is breathtaking. We also are privileged to watch seals feeding their young, but the revelations about penguin 'prostitutes' are perhaps the film's most extraordinary. Gay penguins? Insane penguins?

Full Review… | September 10, 2009
Urban Cinefile

Caustically enchanting

Full Review… | August 26, 2009

...May not have the shock and drive of Grizzly Man, but it's a poignant and even haunting work nonetheless

Full Review… | July 30, 2009

Audience Reviews for Encounters at the End of the World


Existential angst gets a huge power-up thanks to Herzog's cranky eye. Fears and sorrows previously limited to mere individuals now apply equally to whole civilizations, species, planets, Gods and universes.

Killer beauty movie.

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Quite possibly one of the most fascinating and well-constructed documentaries of its time, Encounters at the End of the World combines hauntingly majestic and beautiful visuals, an eerily chilling and engrossing musical score, and intriguing humanist concepts on language, environmental effects, the lives of the many species that inhabit Antarctica, and even the fate of humanity itself, all told from the legendary film master Werner Herzog, proving again, not only are his films staples of quality cinema, but that he continues to break boundaries of convention and typical understanding that many of his contemporaries have long since abandoned. This film is not Antarctica: An Adventure of a Different Nature, nor is it March of the Penguins, this is a raw, even dark film that should be on the top of your "to watch" list.

Matthew Roe
Matthew Roe

Super Reviewer


Werner Herzog is such a brilliant filmmaker that I think I hate him as a result. It doesn't help that he makes what he does look so simple either. Of course, it's not as simple as just showing up at a cool and interesting place filming it, then narrating it in an unmistakable and idiosyncratic voice. It's definitely inspiring though.

This film sees him going to Antarctica, not to film the landscape of the wildlife there, but rather the most interesting thing to take up residence there- humans. The landscape and underwater footage (not shot by Herzog) is amazing. Some of it doesn't even look like it's Earth due to this haunting outherwordly quality. What's even more unique is how the buildings don't look like something you'd expect from a movie or something- they are dirty, cluttered, noisy, and filled with the type of crap you find in your average office complex. They even have a damn ice ream machine!

The people that Herzog encounters are some of the most out there, yet not too far gone people I've had the pleasure of hearing them talk about their lives and work. I think my favorites are the lady who hides in luggage, and the women who talks about how seals make noises that, to quote her, "sound like Pink Floyd or something". That's just sweet.

This film definitely fits in quite nicely with the rest of the stuff Herzog has done, although it is just a tad more mainstream and thus played a little straight. That's not a problem at all, though. If anything, it will encourage people to seek out the rest of his stuff, especially his more off-the-wall fare.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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