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The Invisible War (2012)


Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 66
Fresh: 65
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: The Invisible War is a vital and frank expose on sexual assault in the U.S. military, shot by master filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated).

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 21
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: The Invisible War is a vital and frank expose on sexual assault in the U.S. military, shot by master filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated).


Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 9,508


Movie Info

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country's most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of several young women, the film reveals the systemic cover up of the crimes … More

Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Kirby Dick
In Theaters:
Oct 23, 2012
Box Office:
Cinedigm - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for The Invisible War

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

I can hardly wait to see which closet Dick will throw open next.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

A must-see exposé of the abuse of power in an institution that is supposed to serve and protect.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

I have rarely been more righteously riled up than I was while watching the documentary The Invisible War.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

Interview after interview, statistic after statistic, Dick's advocacy project thoroughly incenses -- and appears to be having results.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

This travesty has been encouraged by a military culture that blames the victim and a policy directing soldiers to refer complaints to their commanding officer, which typically results in no action or even reprisals against those speaking out.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of those documentaries that you watch both fascinated and repulsed - and one of those films that you sense just might be instrumental in helping to change an utterly unacceptable status quo.

Full Review… | July 12, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The Invisible War is as compelling as Silence in the House of God, Alex Gibney's study of abusive Catholic priests.

Full Review… | March 14, 2014
This is London

Where this picture is truly triumphant, is within the significance of its very existence. This film simply needs to have been made, and it needs to be seen.

Full Review… | March 10, 2014

Directed with straightforward economy, The Invisible War sheds much-needed light on a very dark secret.

Full Review… | March 10, 2014
Total Film

Kirby Dick's typically insightful and compassionate documentary presents a harrowing picture of an epidemic of sexual assault and rape within the US military.

Full Review… | March 9, 2014
Observer [UK]

The film works both as advocacy and as a very moving study of women (and one or two men) whose idealism and patriotism have been utterly shattered.

Full Review… | March 7, 2014

What calibre of male personnel is the military attracting? And how will this dysfunction affect its relations with foreign civilian populations? It is a grim picture.

Full Review… | March 6, 2014

Tears are not hard evidence, but they are hard to resist as anecdotal testimony.

Full Review… | March 6, 2014
Financial Times

That the Pentagon has, since the making of this documentary, revamped its rules to try to improve things - in particular, offering immediate transfers for those who allege abuse - is testimony to the power of Dick's work.

Full Review… | February 24, 2013
Eye for Film

This is an enraging film, as it is meant to be, [and] not just because it is a microcosm of rape culture, the collection of pervasive attitudes that rule our society that deny and dismiss men's violence against women.

Full Review… | February 22, 2013
Flick Filosopher erratically-paced yet often harrowing documentary that shines a light on an important (and under-reported) topic.

Full Review… | January 22, 2013
Reel Film Reviews

Addressing a rarely discussed social problem, Kirby's shocking docu could function as an agent of real change.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013

The film delivers a sledgehammer blow to the audience, with an experience every bit as shattering and overwhelming as one might infer from the subject matter.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's an important, infuriating work. The testimonials from assaulted servicewomen and men should be screened on a loop in recruiting offices around the world.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
NOW Toronto

Let's hope the film causes enough change that we don't have to "discover" such abuses in yet another decade.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
National Post

A disquieting investigative essential documentary that sheds light on the massive problem of rape and the systemic cover-ups in the US military.

Full Review… | November 22, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Invisible War


Trigger Warning: descriptions of women going through reporting after sexual assault. Though I knew a bit about the inner workings of the US military, their treatment of women was a complete mystery. It turns out, female soldiers are treated as commodities even when they are risking their lives for this country. Not only that, but women in the military are forced into silence and their assailants go unconvicted. Various women come forward to tell their horrifying stories in this film, and the way they were mishandled by the military is terrifying. The system in place is hurting, and giving PTSD, to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women, and it needs to end permanently. This is a seriously emotional look into an institution that devalues women and, worst of all, creates an environment where women feel unsafe. These women joined the military to serve their country, but by the end of the film they hate the institution that they triumphed. That, above all else, is the most disheartening thing to see.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Disturbing and maddening, Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" is an unfortunate document on the rampant rape and sexual violations that occur within the U.S. military, and how a corrupt system allows such acts to go unpunished on a continuous basis. Dick keenly steps aside and allows the victims of these atrocities and their gut-wrenching testimonies to be the heart of the film... rendered in the simplest, most straightforward of fashions. Much to nearly all of the visual inventiveness and on-screen director input present in "This Film is Not Yet Rated" (a great film also by Dick) has been stripped away and the film is more unshakable because of it. This is indeed heavy, uncomfortable content, but a powerful account that should be considered mandatory viewing for every single man and woman considering a career in the U.S. armed forces. It's sure to change a mind or two.

Michael S

Super Reviewer

A disturbing and essential documentary that exposes the outrageous and horrifying rape and cover-up inside the US military, leading to numerous lives ruined by psychological damage - which hopefully will make women rethink before joining the armed forces.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

This documentary explores the occurrences of sexual assault within the ranks of the U.S. military.
Did you know that it's more likely for a female servicemember to be raped than to be killed in conflict? And the PSAs that the military produces for soldiers are almost exclusively victim-blaming nonsense that is disguised as "prevention."
These are just two of the remarkable logos arguments in this harrowing, haunting documentary. The film has a good dose of journalistic integrity as it gives talking heads in the military brass an opportunity to respond to servicewomen's accusations, and all the interviewees' stories are well-told and tough to listen to. Although I found the film's use of these stories to get a bit repetitive during the film's middle third, it nonetheless renders a scary and unjust world for military women.
Overall, while I haven't seen all the nominate docs yet, this is certainly the front-runner.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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