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Manufactured Landscapes (2007)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 6,129


My Rating

Movie Info

Jennifer Baichwal follows the much acclaimed Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky while he travels the globe shooting landscapes transformed through commercial recycling, manufacturing and industrial production. The film not only captures the astonishing transformations in the landscape but also examines the social repercussions of these changes.


Documentary, Special Interest

Nov 20, 2007

Zeitgeist Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (10) | DVD (8)

What the film does well is to make us part of the problem: After all we demand the lowest prices in everything we buy and that probably means it was made in China.

October 19, 2007
Miami Herald
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Canadian fine art photographer Edward Burtynsky shoots the recycling dumps, superfactories, vast quarries and shipyards, capturing visual beauty in the ecological devastation.

August 9, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Feels constrained and rather dutiful, no matter how passionate these people are about what they're observing.

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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Burtynsky calls for "a whole new way of thinking" about the world's economy and ecology, though he never says what's wrong with the old way.

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The movie works best traveling from the eye straight to the conscience.

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Again and again, Baichwal tapers passages of her film toward resolution in the form of a finished picture by Burtynsky, telescoping her vision and his.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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There is nothing wrong with Baichwal's camerawork, with a fascinating opening eight-minute shot of it roaming across a Chinese factory floor, particularly stunning - but everything lacks depth.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Burtynsky's awe-inspiring work ultimately speaks for itself.

December 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Each of Burtynsky's subjects is impressive in its scale, but terrifying in its ecological impact.

December 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A film in search of a subject.

September 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comment (1)
Antagony & Ecstasy

Burtynsky avoids any political content to his work, but it's hard not to feel anxious and sad at the spectacle of the rapid industrialization and urbanization of the world's most populous nation.

September 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Oregonian

My first question: What kind of nefarious events had to occur so that I could purchase the computer with which I write this review?

September 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Like Burtynsky's pictures, captures images that are at once awesome, humbling, and rather terrifying.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

I got the streamlined version of a minimalist modern art piece, when what I wanted was an old-fashioned documentary.

August 18, 2007 Full Review Source:

Documentarian Jennifer Baichwal's film finds a way to comment on ecological and environmental destruction without bludgeoning audiences with heavy-handed messages. There is a mesmerizing quality to the film.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Burtynsky's photos are stunning (some of his images of dumps resemble Jackson Pollack's drip art), but what's most interesting about Landscapes is the tension between his work and the filmmaking.

August 11, 2007 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Baichwal just tries to create a cinematic equivalent of Burtynsky's still images rather than a documentary on the artistic process of Burtynsky himself. So the end result is a film that would be better as a coffee table book.

August 3, 2007

Pulls real, enigmatic beauty out of the artificial.

July 26, 2007 Full Review Source:

never stoops to easy scape-goating, nor to pat, politically correct answers. It is as engaging, as maddeningly thought-provoking, as it is beautiful

July 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Manufactured Landscapes

One of the better documentaries I have seen. It manages to be both socially relevant and provogative, and also very artistic. That seems like quite an accomblishment to me. It did drag on a bit though.
November 16, 2009
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

Long, with little insight into either the photographer or his subjects. A slide-show gallery tour of his work, suited more for a museum installation than a feature-length film.

Regardless, the images are as captivating as any you'll see short of the "koyaaniquatsi" trilogy... buy a book to look at his photos... the movie isn't neccessary.
July 9, 2007

Super Reviewer

"Manufactured Landscapes" is a moderately interesting documentary about Edward Burtynsky who specializes in taking photographs of industry and manufacturing in an attempt to warn against the environmental depletion of the planet. The film itself is mainly focused on China which is in the process of transforming itself from an agrarian society to an industrial power. There are consequences to this course of action, especially in the displacement of the population and increased pollution.

As urgent as "Manufactured Landscapes" might try to be, there is little here that we have not seen before.(The exception being the shipwreck beach in Bangladesh which itself could have been the setting for an entire documentary.) Yes, that's a truly awesome trackintg shot that opens the movie but it does little to capture the scale of a factory(and I've been in buildings that large, anyway) and actually becomes a game of seeing which workers notice the camera. Likewise, there have been other films that have covered the Three Gorges Dam in greater detail.
May 18, 2010
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A worthy effort and the creation of artificial ugly landscapes is something worth viewing if not quite enjoyable. Baichwal however has a history of taking an interesting topic and adding a layer of dullness in ultimate presentation.
January 16, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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