The Institute (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Institute (2013)

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Movie Info

A documentary examining a ground-breaking San Francisco phenomenon, where cryptic narratives and real worlds collide to produce unforeseen and, at times, unsettling consequences. The Institute takes the viewer on a journey into a secret underground organization teeming just beneath the surface of everyday life. (c) Argot Pictures

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Critic Reviews for The Institute

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6)

Mystery is part of the appeal.

Full Review… | October 21, 2013
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Doesn't always distinguish between fact and fiction, about an interesting social and artistic experiment.

October 17, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

"The Institute" stumbles between documentary and exploratory simulation, at once confusing and pedantic.

Full Review… | October 10, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

Eventually, the documentary's limited perspective becomes a liability when the screen goes dark and we're left with more questions than answers. Adventures only take us so far.

Full Review… | October 10, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Rarely have I felt so absorbed by a movie about people I found so incredibly annoying.

Full Review… | October 7, 2013
Village Voice
Top Critic

McCall does a skillful job of reconstructing this hipster-centric game, though much of the proceedings still come off as one of those "you had to be there" affairs.

Full Review… | October 3, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Institute

I was fully engaged and entertained at this curious documentary which allows the viewer to explore one of the more interesting conceptual art projects I've ever seen. Odd and sort of magical.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield
½

"The Institute," is a documentary by Spencer McCall that documents the story of an alternate reality game in San Francisco a few years ago in which some 10,000 people participated, a hoax-based story world that revolves around a kind of EST-like cult, the mystery of a missing girl, and a lot of real-world activities on the streets. While McCall can't replicate the experiences of those involved, we get a sense of the experience through interviews with many of those involved, including the creators, the participants (including a few who are mentally ill), and occasionally capturing scenes as they unfold. By the end, some viewers might themselves wonder what is "real" and what was manufactured for either the game or the film. I liked this because it reminded me that we don't really have any way to archive these time-limited experiments. Even those which are entirely digital may suddenly vanish with the fortunes of the companies housing the data.

Nick Demartino
Nick Demartino

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