Control Room Reviews

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Ronnie Scheib
Variety
March 27, 2009
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Houston Chronicle
July 21, 2005
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 13, 2004
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 1, 2004
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.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
July 16, 2004
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 16, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
July 16, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
June 25, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
June 18, 2004
Enlightening, if structurally relaxed documentary.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
June 18, 2004
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.
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
June 18, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
June 18, 2004
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
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 17, 2004
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Brendan Bernhard
L.A. Weekly
June 17, 2004
As a portrait of the media's own Iraq war, this is a memorable, if not fully satisfying, film.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 14, 2004
... a raw, unblinking examination of how the first draft of history is revised by those who filter it.
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Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
June 13, 2004
For those who are interested in wartime truth, this film reminds us that the casualty has been somewhat reduced.
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Jonathan Curiel
San Francisco Chronicle
June 11, 2004
Without being didactic, the documentary raises important issues about bias and objectivity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 11, 2004
A must-see movie.
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
June 11, 2004
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+
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 11, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
June 11, 2004
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 | Original Score: 4/4
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Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
June 10, 2004
It's an intriguing, entertaining glimpse at the inner workings of the most-watched television channel in the world.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
June 10, 2004
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
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 10, 2004
An eye-opening, important film that examines the war in Iraq from both Arab and Western perspectives.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
June 10, 2004
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 | Original Score: 3/4
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
May 29, 2004
Compelling cinema verite documentary chronicling the working methods of the Al Jazeera news agency during the prelude and beginnings of the Iraq War.
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Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
May 27, 2004
Like the best documentaries, Control Room spurs questions rather than promoting an agenda.
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John Anderson
Newsday
May 21, 2004
The most profound work to date on how our government has manipulated news coverage in Iraq.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Megan Lehmann
New York Post
May 21, 2004
The zippily edited doc is relentlessly entertaining, with plenty of drama and even a few moments of dark humor.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
May 21, 2004
Noujaim ably reveals the splits between truth and perception, raw anger and calculated hypocrisy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
May 19, 2004
Noujaim's anxiety-provoking documentary about how the light of truth shifts when filtered through a screen of nationalism, Arab or American.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
May 18, 2004
This absorbing, significant, and shamelessly entertaining movie not only goes through the looking glass but, no less significantly, turns the mirror back on us.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
April 1, 2004
The mood of Jehane Noujaim's bristling documentary about Al Jazeera, the satellite news network, is both frenetic and grim.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5