Into Great Silence Reviews

Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
May 4, 2007
This 2005 feature is demanding to say the least, but its pulse-slowing rhythms leave a real sense of peace.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 27, 2007
A transcendental piece of filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
April 5, 2007
As a place to enter and meditate, Into Great Silence is imminently worthy, but as a documentary, it doesn't do enough to probe the meaning of the quotation Gröning returns to repeatedly: "Oh Lord, you have seduced me, and I was seduced."
Full Review | Original Score: B
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
March 30, 2007
On a philosophical level, Into Great Silence emphasizes the virtues of the ascetic life, returning again and again to the idea of giving away all possessions in order to become a true disciple.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 29, 2007
[Some] viewers are likely to consider this nearly three-hour, nearly soundless documentary as a chance to catch up on their sleep.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
March 29, 2007
As we vicariously participate in their daily rituals, we find ourselves at the ground level of spiritual worship. It's hard to recall a similar documentary that brings viewers so palpably close to that sacred experience.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
March 29, 2007
Into Great Silence is a film of great spiritual intensity and haunting minimalism that enlarges your concepts of movies and of life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 16, 2007
Have I got a movie for you. Into Great Silence is a two-hour-and-40-minute documentary about monks, and it is one of the transporting film experiences of this or any other year.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
March 16, 2007
The silence captured in this documentary may be the most eloquent you'll ever hear.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
March 8, 2007
Though it likely will not persuade people to join the ranks, experiencing life behind the walls has an undeniable effect. We've been allowed a glimpse of eternity. And who would not be changed by that?
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
March 7, 2007
Their silence is full to the brim with incidental sound that functions as both score and narration in this hyper-empathic film.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 7, 2007
For two hours and 42 minutes, Into Great Silence offers painterly images of an existence that is, almost literally, too reverent for words.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
March 2, 2007
Groning then moved into the isolated, centuries-old monastery and for six months, minus crew or artificial light, recorded the monks' daily routine. The result is the seductive documentary Into Great Silence.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
March 1, 2007
Into Great Silence is one of those films -- Martin Scorsese's Kundun is another example -- wherein the spiritual aspiration of the filmmaker informs, and even exalts, the film itself.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
March 1, 2007
A rapturous, absorbing experience -- it has no voice-over, no back story or history, no archival footage and no talking heads -- but only if you can surrender yourself to it.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
February 28, 2007
The achievement of Into Great Silence is the way it captures the slow, delicate rhythm of the Carthusian monks.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Michelle Orange
Village Voice
February 27, 2007
Into Great Silence moves into the realm of humble observation. Gröning traces the passing of the seasons with beauty shots of God's creations, from snow drifts and rain puddles to flower petals and kitten whiskers.
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Trevor Johnston
Time Out
December 30, 2006
More than any film outside Bresson, this non-judgemental document allows us to feel the spirituality of the ecstatic privations guiding their journey. A Christmas gift of time and contemplation.
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Jay Weissberg
Variety
October 27, 2006
Such a poetic essay on the slowed-down rhythms of life, that its quiet pleasures carry the viewer along at a pace commensurate with the monks' own unhurried sense of time.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 27, 2006
Viewing Into Great Silence is meant to mimic the experience of living with the monks.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
October 27, 2006
Though there are dozens of images here that you might want as a computer-screen saver, Into Great Silence does not add up to a valuable or engrossing documentary.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4