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Wisconsin Death Trip

Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 4.7/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

66

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 891

My Rating

Movie Info

This film adaptation of Michael Lesy's 1973 book takes a look at the sordid and disturbing underside of life in a small Wisconsin community in the 1890s. In the early 1970s, Lesy discovered a large collection of curious photographs from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, taken near the end of the 19th century, and began doing research on the town in hopes of learning the story behind them. Lesy was startled by what he learned; over the course of a decade, Black River Falls fell victim to a severe

Unrated,

Documentary, Special Interest

,

James Marsh

Feb 24, 2004

- Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (6) | DVD (5)

Marsh's film alludes to the poor economy of the former mining town but has little else to say about potential causes or motivation. Marsh just piles the events on, as if there's black humor in their sheer volume. Nope, just a big boring pile.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The main problem with Wisconsin Death Trip is the way the format distances you from the subject matter, so that stories may shock, but they never move you.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wisconsin Death Trip chronicles, in bleakly funny vignettes, the marathon of perverse, violent, and frequently inexplicable acts of violence and insanity that gripped the seemingly cursed Wisconsin town of Black River Falls during the late 19th century.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Chillingly beautiful cinematography makes the state's landscapes appear timeless as it sets the stage for a grim history.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Those who pine for the presumed simpler life and upright morals of yesteryear's small-town Midwest have a rude, albeit wry, awakening in store with Wisconsin Death Trip.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What emerges is primal American Gothic: a blighted pathos which is also irrepressibly, grotesquely funny.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Crisply photographed in black and white by cinematographer Eigil Bryld and extremely violent, it's the hellish flip-side to Little House on the Prairie.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Wisconsin Death Trip is always lyrical, sometimes blackly farcical, and sometimes terrifying, as it reveals the romanticised American frontier's true desperation.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Required viewing for anyone who thinks the modern media created the social ills that accost us so frequently today.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Chances are you have never seen a film quite like Wisconsin Death Trip

February 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

. . .a fever dream of a film that is haunting, capable of jarring moments of revelation about the timelessness of human nature. . .

April 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

If sitting in a library basement reading random newspaper articles on microfilm for two hours is your idea of a good time, then this movie has your name all over it.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Michael Lesy's macabre 1973 cult book of photographs has been given the documentary treatment in this seemingly made-for-the-movies true story.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

An unsettling semi-documentary narrated by Ian Holm that chronicles the bizarre goings-on in and around the town of Black River Falls, Wis., between 1890 and 1900.

April 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Marsh belabors the grotesque, and shock gives way to nausea as he piles on accounts of unexplained suicides, abandoned children, psychotic delusions, and other gory vignettes.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Combines documentary photos with actor re-creations to assemble a stunning catalog of cheesehead mayhem.

January 24, 2002 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A remarkable and unusual achievement.

January 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Wisconsin Death Trip

I found it a bit dull really, it?s certainly not the best doc I?ve ever seen but the stories are good. A film version or even a TV series would have been better!
September 22, 2009
SirPant

Super Reviewer

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