• PG-13, 1 hr. 46 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Paul Schrader
    In Theaters:
    Oct 18, 2002 Wide
    On DVD:
    Mar 18, 2003
  • Sony Pictures Classics

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Auto Focus Reviews

Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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June 24, 2006
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
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Schrader really isn't interested in Crane except as the straw man for his moral lessons about sin and sexuality and the nature of celebrity.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

January 16, 2003
David Edelstein
NPR's Fresh Air
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November 16, 2002
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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How do you make a movie with depth about a man who lacked any? On the evidence before us, the answer is clear: Not easily and, in the end, not well enough.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 8, 2002

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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November 2, 2002
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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Admirably unconventional film.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

November 1, 2002
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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It never answers the key question: Why should we care?

Full Review Source: Washington Post

November 1, 2002
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Watching this cold, detached movie, you never get the sense that Schrader cares one whit about Crane or is even curious about understanding the compulsions that wrecked his marriage and career and eventually cost him his life.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

November 1, 2002
Susan Stark
Detroit News
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It's no fun to watch, but there's no denying the power of its point of view, of its two lead performances and of its claim to attention as an evocation of recent social history.

| Original Score: 3/4

November 1, 2002
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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You may want to fast-forward to a movie with a point.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

November 1, 2002
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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Although Kinnear looks the part, he's never able to capture Crane's intangible charm, a peculiar mix of leering slickness and affable class clown.

November 1, 2002
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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The emptiness of serial seductions has never been painted in starker colors. And the message of Auto Focus stings and sticks with you.

| Original Score: 4/5

October 31, 2002
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Somewhat blurred, but Kinnear's performance is razor sharp.

| Original Score: B

October 29, 2002
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
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Kinnear's performance is a career-defining revelation.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 29, 2002
Mike Clark
USA Today
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Michael Gerbosi's script is economically packed with telling scenes.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 29, 2002
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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From the opening razzmatazz and Vegas lounge-band arrangements behind the credits, to the crime-lab murder scene itself, Mr. Schrader captures the air-conditioned look and feel of the Hollywood dream factory.

October 29, 2002
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Kinnear ... gives his best screen performance with an oddly winning portrayal of one of life's ultimate losers.

| Original Score: B

October 26, 2002
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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A well-crafted film about the life and death of TV actor Bob Crane.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

October 25, 2002
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
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A compelling, sympathetic portrait.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

October 25, 2002
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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Kinnear throws himself into the role, but because he's playing a bad actor who's unaware he's acting, his skill may not always be apparent.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: B-

October 25, 2002
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
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Schrader, I think, has found an approach that suits the skewed cultural history of his material.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 25, 2002
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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A hypnotic portrait of this sad, compulsive life.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

October 25, 2002
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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With nary a glimmer of self-knowledge, [Crane] becomes more specimen than character -- and Auto Focus remains a chilly, clinical lab report.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 25, 2002
Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
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It's a provocative, challenging study in denial and one of its star's and its director's all-time bests.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B

October 24, 2002
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
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Often as poignant as it is perverse.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 3.5/4

October 24, 2002
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Kinnear gives an amazing performance as the Hogan's Heroes star.

| Original Score: 3/4

October 24, 2002
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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Does strongly benefit from its overall smartness and lucidity, and from two very canny, well-thought-out performances by Kinnear and Dafoe.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

October 24, 2002
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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Everything in the movie rises and falls dismally, with little sense even of waste and loss.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

October 23, 2002
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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You don't have to know anything about Bob Crane, you don't to have ever watched Hogan's Heroes, and you can still appreciate the skill behind this film.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

October 21, 2002
Jan Stuart
Newsday
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The brave conduit of Schrader's doom-laden moralism is Greg Kinnear, giving one of those revelatory performances that makes everything an actor does prior seem like marking time.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3/4

October 18, 2002
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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[Kinnear's] performance has to be one of the most sympathetic acts of decency one actor has ever extended to another.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

October 18, 2002
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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The performances are vividly alive.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

October 18, 2002
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Auto Focus, Schrader's strongest movie since Affliction, is another meditation on American masculinity powerfully told with great wit and style.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

October 18, 2002
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
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Strangely wonderful and weirdly touching.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

October 17, 2002
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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[Kinnear's] marvelously ambiguous and deliciously blank here, lending a slightly sinister cast to every harmless, handsome man he's ever played.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

October 17, 2002
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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This sexaholic Lost Weekend is way too punitive -- the celebrity version of Looking For Mr. Goodbar.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

October 15, 2002
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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A compelling motion picture that illustrates an American tragedy.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

October 15, 2002
Mike D'Angelo
Time Out New York
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Combines the least appealing aspects of the biopic (episodic narrative, lack of imagination) with the least appealing aspects of the junkie's-downward-spiral genre (wearying repetition, lofty condescension).

| Original Score: 41/100

October 14, 2002
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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A potent and provocative look at how the male ego is affected by sex and self-image, especially when magnified by celebrity.

| Original Score: 4/4

October 10, 2002
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Gets to you like a low-grade fever, a malaise with no known antidote.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

October 3, 2002
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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[Crane] is played with a touching, eager-to-please obliviousness by Greg Kinnear.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 4/5

September 30, 2002
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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We watch a life fall apart as one could observe an organism under a microscope -- with neither passion nor compassion. It comes awfully close to an exercise in morbidity.

September 11, 2002
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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This true-life saga of sex, lies and videotape is one of director Paul Schrader's best films, and like Boogie Nights ranks as a shrewd expose of recent Hollywood's slimy underside.

Full Review Source: Variety

September 4, 2002
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