Eventually collapses under the weight of its no-budget arrogance, but it goes some interesting places beforehand.
| Original Score: 2/4
Johnston's rough-hewn handheld footage generates a sense of dread as a defining force behind the camera, more concrete than any onscreen images.
Afghanistan shouldn't be used as a backdrop for some director's selfish attempt at provocation.
| Original Score: 0/4
The film itself still feels faked, and its calculated exploitation of some real tragedies may be the most unbelievable thing of all.
The whole notion of exploiting a war and its victims to shoot a commercial feature is reprehensible.
Squanders incredible verisimilitude by undercutting it with credibility-defying storytelling.
| Original Score: 2/5
Credit September Tapes with raising thorny questions about what forms of cinematic storytelling do justice to truth.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
War porn, an amateurish and incomprehensible mishmash of alleged fact and fiction.
| Original Score: 1/4
A hybrid, containing both fictional and real elements. As often happens with such efforts, the movie doesn't fully succeed in meeting the demands of either side of a complex equation.
Maybe Mr. Johnston ... intended this to be a guessing game. But the method robs the real encounters of their power and, even more important, trivializes the subject.
While the documentary footage ... is powerful, it's often undermined by the fact that you know there is deep contrivance at work.
Pic's ace in the hole is its extremely authentic feel when it comes to the landscape of Afghanistan and the people and perils one might encounter there.
Little more than war porn.
| Original Score: F