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Control Room Reviews

Ronnie Scheib
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March 27, 2009

Time Out
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June 24, 2006

Houston Chronicle
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July 21, 2005
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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The optimistic viewer will see in all this blunt and messy contrariness the emergence of the first free press in the Arab world.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

August 13, 2004
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
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Given that most Americans know the network only by reputation, or via Donald Rumsfeld's public denunciations of it, a little more objective information would not have gone amiss.

August 1, 2004
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
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Noujaim's documentary is clearly sympathetic to the journalists of Al-Jazeera, who all seem to be professional, intelligent and reasonable, but it is not blindly biased.

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

July 16, 2004
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Modest in scope and not as well structured as it could have been, Control Room may not seem all that compelling 10 years down the road. But right now, at this very moment, it is essential, imperative viewing.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3.5/4

July 16, 2004
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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More illuminating than not, and shines its brightest light on a truth that war and warmongers so ferociously ignore: Look hard into the other's camp and what you'll likely see is yourself.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

July 16, 2004
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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Noujaim's eye-opening documentary consistently asks the tough questions, while giving its subjects (and, implicitly, the audience) a remarkable forum for discussion.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 25, 2004
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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Enlightening, if structurally relaxed documentary.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

June 18, 2004
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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This engrossing portrait of competing notions of truth is at once a thrilling real-time chronicle of the birth of a free press and a sophisticated philosophical treatise on the nature of objective reality.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

June 18, 2004
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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It does a good job of showing just how much media manipulation is taken for granted by those who have the job of massaging the facts and the ones who simply lie back and enjoy it.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

June 18, 2004
Tom Long
Detroit News
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The value in Control Room is simply that it shows what America never got to see while also serving as a reminder that nobody serves up the real truth, everybody just serves up their truth.

| Original Score: B

June 18, 2004
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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A glimpse of a world where everything is reversed, where our most cherished preconceptions are called into question and reality proves to be a more complex business than we imagined.

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

June 17, 2004
Brendan Bernhard
L.A. Weekly
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As a portrait of the media's own Iraq war, this is a memorable, if not fully satisfying, film.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

June 17, 2004
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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... a raw, unblinking examination of how the first draft of history is revised by those who filter it.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

June 14, 2004
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
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For those who are interested in wartime truth, this film reminds us that the casualty has been somewhat reduced.

June 13, 2004
Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
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Without being didactic, the documentary raises important issues about bias and objectivity.

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

June 11, 2004
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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A must-see movie.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

June 11, 2004
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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If there are indeed two sides to every story, Control Room offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe the other side and then make up our own minds.

| Original Score: B+

June 11, 2004
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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An enlightening documentary about how the U.S. networks and the Arab satellite news channel Al Jazeera covered the early days of the war in Iraq.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3/4

June 11, 2004
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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This modest yet necessary documentary digs into the tussle between bias and balance in modern journalism and sends you out debating where one side's reporting becomes the other side's distortion.

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

June 11, 2004
Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
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It's an intriguing, entertaining glimpse at the inner workings of the most-watched television channel in the world.

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

June 10, 2004
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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An overdue antidote to the carefully managed news that came out of the U.S. Central Command during the war.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

June 10, 2004
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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An eye-opening, important film that examines the war in Iraq from both Arab and Western perspectives.

| Original Score: 4/4

June 10, 2004
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
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What Noujaim does show is the side rarely seen over here, and she does so in a way that's brisk, informative and even entertaining in its own wrenching way.

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

June 10, 2004
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
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Compelling cinema verite documentary chronicling the working methods of the Al Jazeera news agency during the prelude and beginnings of the Iraq War.

May 29, 2004
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
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Like the best documentaries, Control Room spurs questions rather than promoting an agenda.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

May 27, 2004
John Anderson
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The most profound work to date on how our government has manipulated news coverage in Iraq.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 21, 2004
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
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The zippily edited doc is relentlessly entertaining, with plenty of drama and even a few moments of dark humor.

| Original Score: 3/4

May 21, 2004
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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Noujaim ably reveals the splits between truth and perception, raw anger and calculated hypocrisy.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

May 21, 2004
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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Noujaim's anxiety-provoking documentary about how the light of truth shifts when filtered through a screen of nationalism, Arab or American.

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

May 19, 2004
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
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This absorbing, significant, and shamelessly entertaining movie not only goes through the looking glass but, no less significantly, turns the mirror back on us.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

May 18, 2004
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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The mood of Jehane Noujaim's bristling documentary about Al Jazeera, the satellite news network, is both frenetic and grim.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

April 1, 2004
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