Killer of Sheep - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Killer of Sheep Reviews

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February 17, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
April 13, 2017
Killer of Sheep doesn't so much tell a story as it does introduce us to a harsh reality that many people haven't witnessed or understood. Through a realistic setting and realistic characters, Charles Burnett crafts a movie that aims to inform and does so to good effect.
May 19, 2016
Mr. Burnett's compassion as a neorealist director, as well as his gifts as a storyteller, give an almost unrecognizable style to this humorous, unhappy, thoughtful depiction of lower-class living.
May 1, 2016
The is a seminal film in the history of African-American cinema from acclaimed director Charles Burnett. It was shot as his thesis for UCLA in 1977 with family and friends on no budget. I'd struggle to tell you what it's about, really it is just follows a family as they go about their day in a poor suburb of L.A. What makes the film is that it feels raw and authentic, like the Italian Neo-realistic films, which makes it oddly compelling. It also has an amazing soundtrack featuring some great Blues songs as well as Paul Robeson and Dinah Washington. Film lovers must check this out.
December 22, 2015
A diamond in the ruff. From it's vivid urban detail of the life in 1970s Los Angeles, to its dramatic and humble foresaw of characters, "Killer of Sheep" is simply made and simply masterful. It's this independant film from Charles Burnett that proves to all movie goers that u do not need a high budget to make a classic.
November 23, 2015
The dialogue, which is read with either insufficient or excessive emphasis by the non-actors, is often buried under a soundtrack of vintage blues, making it doubly hard to follow. Even the slaughter of the sheep is numbingly uneventful.
October 5, 2015
It is not earth shattering, but many consider it one of the best movies ever made. I liked it a lot.
August 20, 2015
A movie like this can be challenging to watch. There's no parts to piece together or 'figure out', there are no big character arcs or big dramatic moments. I'll leave it to each own's opinion whether this is a good or bad thing, but all the hyperbole aside, in my opinion this is a great movie because it showed what the area looked like in the post-watts riot era and was it a film that was created in the blaxploitation era but set itself apart from other films,
½ November 9, 2014
At times it feels painstakingly realistic, every piece of dialogue, every situation, every interaction rings authentic, adding up to an unforgettable and moving finale; the only thing hampering this gem is the visual style and the somewhat poor pacing.
May 23, 2014
A total triumph...Burnett absolutely nails the "documentary feel" of what life is like in the inner-city. And (no surprise for some, I imagine) it's a mixture of good and bad, despair and deep love. It's a constant reminder that the small, simple things (the daughter singing to the radio was, for me, the hallmark moment of the film) are what really keep you going.

I'm fascinated by the basic idea that, in our minds, we all sometimes feel like we live in tough circumstances, even if what's in front of our eyes appears to be opulent, or thoroughly "middle class". It's our mindset that informs our circumstances, and not the other way around. If more people understand that idea, I suspect there would be far less "Us vs. Them" mentality all over the world.

Highly, Highly recommend
March 31, 2014
A straight forward film with few direct happenings. We get to know poor afro-americans in a close to documentary setting. A man is feeling quite lost and tired of his daily life while his wife tries to encourage him. His kids are "just" kids, and his friends seem to be both a pain and a small lift of joy.

It feels a bit flat, but still it's a very rememberable film caused by it's style and straight forwardness.
The biggest archievement here is the remeberable photography of the film along with the fantastic poetic vibe and usage. Loads of great quotes here along some great scenes. The grittyness is also a pro factor - it's as ugly as it is pretty.

It was pretty tricky to put it all togheter for me, so it never really gripped me either. A big piece for the so-called "black cinema" history.

Later on, after I gave it some time to sink in and think of all the beautiful scenes and shots that where used here, it turned out to be less flat. This is a grower that will stick with you.

Oh, a cool trivia piece is that Mos Def took a still from the film and used is as album cover for his record "The Ecstatic".

8 out of 10 dog masks.
½ March 25, 2014
Not many people are aware of this terrific little no budget film.
October 30, 2013
Glad my husband stumbled on this film during a fit of insomnia. Odd, incongruous, plotless, and real. Good use of music. Dinah Washington - hearing This Bitter Earth - worth the price of admission, alone.
August 4, 2013
A black man works in a slaughterhouse to support his family and make ends meet. That's it. The most remarkable thing about this film is how unremarkable the lead character is. The film simply chronicles his life and the lives of his family and neighbors in a typical lower-middle-class (to put it very nicely) neighborhood during the '70s. It's a fascinating look into the lives of African-Americans during that time period but it still feels remarkably relevant and resonant to this day.
July 23, 2013
I'm not blown away by the trailer, but the topic seems interesting, the reviews are certainly good, and they have it at our library.
June 21, 2013
A painful, hard film to watch about deep poverty in the U.S.A , that draws parallels between the desperate poor, especially the children, and the sheep about to be killed in the slaughterhouse. Made with 10 grand by Burnett while he was a film student.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2013
Charles Burnett's postmodern neo-realist drama effectively captures the hard lifestyle endured by African Americans in their decrepit urban surroundings and contains some realistic, emotionally-tinged performances from its gifted non-actors, but it doesn't offer much more than that. Obviously, I am not qualified to downgrade a film as acclaimed as his "Killer of Sheep" is, but I didn't find myself moved or interested by it. The narrative is uninvolving and Burnett's direction pushes away more than it invites, and though I appreciate the actors giving it their all and the often gorgeous cinematography, I just couldn't get into "Killer of Sheep" as much as I would have liked to.
December 2, 2012
moving and hard 2 forget
½ November 24, 2012
The music is haunting the scenes sear into your senses. This ain't no Hollywood story, but it's a true American drama. My Brother's Wedding on the same disk cracked me up. Warning: My wife describes the movies I like as "Slow and Weird"
October 18, 2012
wow what an intriguing look at lower class American family living in south central and trying to make ends meet.
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