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Garbo: The Spy Reviews

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Andrea Chase
Killer Movie Reviews

World War II ended more than half a century ago, but heretofore unknown stories are still surfacing from it. Few, if any, are more fascinating that the eponymous subject of Edmond Roch's stylishly engrossing documentary

Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews | Original Score: 5/5

April 24, 2012
Shawn Levy

The story told in "Garbo: The Spy" is so outlandish that you almost feel as if you're watching a mockumentary. But it appears to be entirely true.

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: B-

January 5, 2012
Cliff Doerksen
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Edmon Roch spins a zippy yarn of Pujol's improbable exploits from archival footage, talking heads, and clips from classic espionage dramas.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 8, 2011
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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An engrossing documentary that is itself largely a work of the director's imagination.

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

December 8, 2011
Doris Toumarkine
Film Journal International

Award-winning Spanish documentary about World War II's most infamous double agent eventually evolves into a fascinating exposť of highly creative and unconventional espionage work.

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

December 1, 2011
Sheri Linden
Los Angeles Times
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Director Edmon Roch makes some smart conceptual choices that honor his subject's self-invention and mystery.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

November 24, 2011
Kent Turner

Garbo: The Spy delivers the goods, spinning one of the best real-life spy yarns of the war ... If [it] graces PBS or the History Channel-and it should-those networks will suddenly become hip.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 3/4

November 18, 2011
Louis Proyect

Garbo was the man who inspired Graham Greene's "Our Man in Havana", a man who appeared to become a spy mostly out of a sense of opportunism than any idea. Which is not to say that he did not make history.

Full Review Source:

November 18, 2011
Rachel Saltz
New York Times
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Edmon Roch has a great story to tell in "Garbo the Spy," and he recounts it with the flair of a Hollywood spy movie: "Garbo" is dramatic, entertaining, even funny in parts.

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

November 17, 2011
Noel Murray
AV Club
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Garbo: The Spy can only suggest who Garcia really was, and why he took it upon himself to fell a tyrant. But even without the fine psychological shading, Garcia's story is a doozy.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B

November 17, 2011
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
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The jarring juxtapositions only heighten the enigmatic air of the film's subject; even when he's right in front of us, he seems to be plotting his next wily act.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/5

November 15, 2011
Karina Longworth
Village Voice
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Some of this footage feels like filler, but Roch's concept is strong: He's creating a dialogue between the fictions Pujol created to help win the war and the fictions Hollywood created to memorialize that victory.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

November 15, 2011
Glenn Heath Jr.
Slant Magazine

Using a whirlwind of archival footage, maps, and split screens, Edmon Roch conveys Garcia's reign as Europe's premiere spy in a constantly fluid fashion.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 13, 2011
Jennifer Merin

A real life spy thriller of a documentary: "Garbo" is better than "Mata Hari."

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 5/5

November 13, 2011
Cole Smithey

"Garbo: the Spy has a lilting tone of cat-and-mouse in its construction. You just might want to see it twice.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: A

November 8, 2011
Harvey S. Karten

Intriguing look at a double agent during World War 2 who some say "saved the world."

Full Review Source: Compuserve | Original Score: B

November 2, 2011
G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
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How does one make a documentary about a cipher? In "Garbo the Spy," Roch solves that problem, and magnificently so.

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

March 10, 2011
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Fascinating though it is, the movie is thin on historical materials.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 18, 2011
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
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Doc's incredible tale of WWII espionage would likely work better as a feature film.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

November 18, 2011
Mark Jenkins
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pulling Garbo's story from Roch's film requires considerable effort. The director takes a cinema verite approach to historical material, which never works, and forgoes narration.

Full Review Source: NPR

November 17, 2011
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