Kandahar Reviews

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Deborah Young
Variety
August 6, 2008
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David Ansen
Newsweek
March 31, 2008
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Fred Camper
Chicago Reader
June 24, 2003
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 6, 2002
It's a simple series of snapshots from a country in pain.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
March 29, 2002
Moves not like a story but a poem, and the images it presents to us are unforgettable.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
March 14, 2002
Its themes are universal, its performances are effective in their simplicity and the direction is confident and unfussy.
| Original Score: 5/5
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 9, 2002
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 1, 2002
If the dramatics of the movie fail to engage as fully as they should, Kandahar remains fascinating as a piece of lyrical journalism.
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
March 1, 2002
Intense, anecdotal and empowered by perversely beautiful imagery.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
March 1, 2002
Perhaps best appreciated as a record of what life was like before the U.S. invasion and as a lesson in why the rest of the world should have cared even before the terrorist attacks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
February 26, 2002
Today, after the liberation of Kandahar, what was originally conceived by Makhmalbaf as a panorama of images of life during wartime may now serve as its eloquent epitaph.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
February 15, 2002
The film is best appreciated as an open-ended 'fictional documentary' rather than a conventional feature with a beginning, middle and end.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
February 15, 2002
Kandahar does not provide deeply drawn characters, memorable dialogue or an exciting climax. Its traffic is in images.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
February 14, 2002
A window on an Iran and an Afghanistan we should have taken account of long ago -- seen though a master's eye, felt through a poet's touch.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
January 24, 2002
[T]he film has so many riveting scenes.
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Steven Rosen
Denver Post
January 18, 2002
Its story is more interesting for its own back story than for the difficult, problematic way Makhmalbaf has of trying to dramatize it.
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Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
January 17, 2002
A plea for compassion for a people suffering from poverty, illiteracy, and religious zealotry.
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
January 15, 2002
Remarkably revealing and timely.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 11, 2002
Although occasionally its narration is a bit halting and awkward, it's a lyrical, stunning picture of the ravages of war.
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Loren King
Boston Globe
January 11, 2002
Its many moments of poetic grace make this haunting and harrowing journey a rewarding one.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 6, 2002
You won't forget this film -- it's devastating.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
January 4, 2002
It's a bleak testament to the pettiness of man -- or, in this case, men.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 4, 2002
Kandahar has the immediacy and authenticity of a documentary and the poetry of a strong dramatic feature.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 3, 2002
Though it might lack in Hollywood production values, it overflows with moral impact.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 19, 2001
We never see Nafas reach Kandahar, but we have been taken on a colorful and exhilarating trip just the same.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
December 15, 2001
Often a strikingly beautiful meditation on the harsh desert landscape it surveys.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
December 14, 2001
An eloquent and unshakable obituary to a reign of terror that defies comprehension.
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Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
December 14, 2001
Despite the self-consciousness and occasional crudeness of the exercise, there is often a visceral intimacy to Makhmalbaf's depiction of the cruel, medieval oppressiveness of Taliban rule.
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
December 14, 2001
Worthy of some attention because it happens to portray the [Afghanistan] culture -- specifically the treatment of women in that Taliban stronghold -- in forceful and dramatic terms.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 11, 2001
Feels truncated, but it communicates a certain urgency and at times a powerful sense of the absurd.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 11, 2001
Ultimately works far better as an educational tool than as a traditional narrative-bound motion picture.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 7, 2001
There are moments of quiet power.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
October 28, 2001
Essential viewing.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
October 26, 2001
Kandahar manages to speak volumes by allowing its surprising imagery to do most of the articulating.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
October 26, 2001
Kandahar, graced with cinematography that is beautiful even in its desolation, is more of a documentary than a dramatic feature, although it has the power of great drama.