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Civic Duty (2007)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 24

At times a tense and provocative thriller, Civic Duty struggles to move beyond its one-note premise.


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 13

At times a tense and provocative thriller, Civic Duty struggles to move beyond its one-note premise.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 29,625

My Rating

Movie Info

Where does legitimate concern end and paranoia begin? A man finds himself walking that fine line in this tense independent drama. Terry Allen (Peter Krause) is an accountant who lives a seemingly ordinary life until he loses his job. Unable to buy the new house he was hoping to get for his fiancée, Marla (Kari Matchett), Terry spends most of time in his apartment, looking for job leads, sending out resumés, and feeling increasingly powerless. As Terry watches more and more stories about the war


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Andrew Joiner

Sep 4, 2007


Freestyle Releasing/Yari Film Group - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (24) | DVD (6)

A flawed but worthwhile examination of paranoia and clashing cultures in the 21st century.

May 21, 2007
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It does build up considerable suspense and tension; Renfroe has learned well from Hitchcock.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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The film's pace lags toward the end, but its grasp of manufactured fear's dreary pervasiveness never falters.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The vivid sense of time and place is the best thing about the initially promising, ultimately irritating psychological thriller Civic Duty.

May 4, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As thoughtful as it means to be -- its agenda is outlined by on-the-nose dialogue from its characters -- Civic Duty does little to go beyond this premise.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sharp 9/11 twist on Rear Window paranoia, Civic Duty is all the more effective for its chilling plausibility.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

mostly suffers from overwriting

October 16, 2007 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

If we can ignore the plot's too-often dips into cliché, we just might walk away with a lot on our minds.

October 8, 2007 Full Review Source:

Eventually it all boils down to cliché, with home invasions by Terry, physical confrontations between Terry and Gabe, a hostage situation, a main character getting gunned down, and all the other standard thriller tropes that might excite the kind of audie

June 22, 2007 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

Terrorism can make you crazy. Or more accurately, U.S. media hype about terrorism can drive you to believe.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Andrew Joiner's clever and layered screenplay just may be one of the best of the year, particularly as it requires thought and may even spark debate.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Krause and his character are the entire movie. Watching him fall apart is fascinating and the ending has a particularly nice, if expected, twist.

May 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

"Rear Window" updated to post 9-11 corporate downsizing has too many mixed messages to convey the simple fear of a classic thriller.

May 6, 2007
Monsters and Critics

There's the faint air of a solid cable movie about Civic Duty...but the questions it raises are provocative enough to make it worth seeing.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Until it becomes simply a hostage dilemma, the film maintains an uneasy air of mystery and suspicion.

May 5, 2007 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

An intense and startling movie for our times. It hits you right between the eyes.

May 5, 2007

A claustrophobic setting and the paranoid concerns of a modern world make Jeff Renfroe's "Civic Duty" an effective psychological thriller.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source:

All that flash serves to prop up what's in essence a one-act play, constructed around a political message that's telegraphed from the start.

May 5, 2007 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

The movie becomes a game of sorts, and to get to the 'truth' of the story we're left simply keeping score rather than examining our own perceptions and reaching any greater understanding of the very real issues at hand.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Civic Duty

Pretty effective thriller, Civic Duty starring Peter Krause is a low budget picture that manages to be entertaining from start to finish despite its limitations. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. Released in the years following 9/11, the film emphasizes on the paranoia at the time when America were in a state of vulnerability. The film is engaging a truly riveting from start to finish. Of course the film could have been improved upon, but for what it is, it's a well crafted film that manages to be far better than what you might think. Krause is great in the lead role, and the film overall relies on a good idea, but at the same time, we've seen better films dealing with similar subjects. Despite its limitations, Civic Duty is one of those movies that are quite engaging considering its budget and simple premise. There are moments in the film where it gets very intense, and you are sucked into its plot. I'll admit that a few times it was silly, but overall, I enjoyed the film, and thought it was a well directed and thrilling film that despite a few weak parts is a picture worth seeing if you enjoy the genre. Krause is a good actor, and his work on Six Feet Under is proof of that, and like I previously said, he is good in the film, and manages to make the film better than it is. For a low budget thriller, Civic Duty is one of the better ones, but it never does reach its full potential, and it somehow leaves you wanting a bit more. Worth seeing if you have nothing else better to do.
January 2, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

This movie hit the screen shortly after 9-11, it was done fast to capitalize on the post 9-11 movie rush. Its not a bad movie but its surly low budget. Our Main Crazy Star is Peter Krause who plays Terry Allen, a loser of a man, lost job, losing his wife, he sits at home watching the news about the 9-11 terrorist and this creates fear in his mind. Next thing you know Gabe Hassan played by Khaled Abol Naga moves into the apartment complex. This is an accurate portrayals of modern-day paranoia in the most of the world, but here in the United States we have once again let our guard down. Gabe is a Middle Eastern Man, and Terry falls into the negative thinking that Gabe is a terrorist. He does everything to the man to get something to point that Gabe is fixing to attack the US. The FBI is involved, Terry just flips out and in the end is put in to a mental Facility and then one day watching the news Terry sees on the news all that he was telling the FBI has unfolded. Its worth 3 stars
September 18, 2009
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]Bill Hicks once told a funny joke about watching CNN non-stop which he did not recommend doing. If only Terry Allen(Peter Krause) in "Civic Duty" had followed such sage advice...(Not to mention the advice on the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Terry is an accountant who has just been laid off and lives with his photographer wife Marla(Kari Matchett). Together, they dream of owning their own house. In the meantime, along with watching the news, he dutifully sends out numerous copies of his resume while being distracted by the suspicious behavior of their new neighbor who is of Middle Eastern descent. To quell his fears, Marla visits him and learns his name is Gabe(Khaled Abol Naga) and that he is a graduate student. That's still not good enough for him, so he contacts an FBI Agent, Tom Hilary(Richard Schiff), who promises to look into it...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]While the banal and uninspired "Civic Duty" certainly has its heart in the right place by exploring the war on error, civil rights, racism and the lynch mob mentality(Terry's owning a gun speaks to his generally being afraid), it stumbles badly with wafer thin chracterizations.(But Richard Schiff does excel...) While the movie may have had a chance if it had been a play(Where the speechifying would have worked better), it is still hard to believe the story progressing beyond a certain point. I am sure a lot of people contact the FBI every day with their suspicions but that's probably as far as it ever goes. Even the situation feels dated by now. Usually after a great catastrophe, news watching is the norm to get as much information as possible but as time wears on, things return to normal as much as possible, which include television viewing patterns.[/font]
March 22, 2008
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Latest News on Civic Duty

May 3, 2007:
"Civic Duty's" Peter Krause Talks TV, Terrorism, And Paranoia
On HBO's "Six Feet Under," Peter Krause played Nate Fisher as an outwardly cool guy...
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