The Witness - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Witness Reviews

January 23, 2017
An engrossing detective story, an enlightening sociological study, and a heartbreaking story of unreconciled grief, "The Witness" is one of the best documentaries of 2016.
January 23, 2017
It's a quietly effective documentary that works on two levels.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
July 21, 2016
The movie cuts deep on a personal level as well, turning Kitty from a poster child back into a real person.
June 30, 2016
"The Witness" makes an encouraging case for the argument that society is not as apathetic as we fear. But it also reveals a troubling phenomenon: our willingness to accept all that we are told as truth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
June 30, 2016
For all the tedium of the work before William, "The Witness" is a riveting deconstruction of a decades-old media narrative.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
June 17, 2016
The story deftly switches focus from Bill's quest to Bill himself. We learn how and why the witness apathy story has haunted him for 50 years, his family's reaction to his admitted obsession over it, and how it shaped his life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
June 16, 2016
This well-rounded doc rigorously probes, shames and - wonder of wonder - inspires.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
June 16, 2016
The strength of "The Witness" lies in its recognition that the truth is often not just elusive but unattainable.
June 13, 2016
A remarkably rounded and unavoidably heartbreaking view of Kitty's life and murder and whose impact is, in large part, due to Bill's central involvement.
June 6, 2016
The Witness, from first-time filmmaker James Solomon, is full of arresting moments.
June 6, 2016
The film makes its mark when it leans in on the deeply personal connection between its subject and its storyteller.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
June 3, 2016
What lifts "The Witness" out of the true-crime documentary genre is its portrait of Bill Genovese.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
June 3, 2016
This is a powerful film, but perhaps its greatest triumph is that for a brief time, it resurrects Kitty Genovese, and lets us see her as a person.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
June 2, 2016
At its sharpest, The Witness is a careful inquiry into the tricks memory plays, and into how ambiguous events get reshaped into narratives that fit individual and collective needs.
June 2, 2016
Solomon's documentary goes deep into what we know about the killing, and what - thanks to flawed original reporting in the New York Times - we only think we know.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
June 2, 2016
"The Witness" is remarkable for its emotional impact, and its clarity.
June 2, 2016
Ultimately, the murder is eclipsed by Mr. Genovese's own struggles - how his obsession exasperates family members, and how the perceived public apathy inspired him to fight in Vietnam, where he lost his legs.
Top Critic
June 2, 2016
Perhaps because any real closure is impossible at this point, The Witness eventually embraces its own inconclusiveness, like some documentary cousin to Zodiac.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
June 1, 2016
Even if you're familiar with debunked details of her murder, moments in the film have the capacity to startle.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
May 31, 2016
Compelling and sometimes frustrating ...
May 30, 2016
The movie's one reŽnactment-an ingenious experiment in forensics and social science-unites drama, journalism, and first-hand experience in a masterstroke of pure cinema.
April 18, 2016
Thoughtful and satisfying.
April 18, 2016
[The film] functions as a project of not only confrontation but resurrection, as Bill's sleuthing sheds new light on Kitty's personality, romances and career, and thus finally re-emphasizes her as a flesh-and-blood person rather than just a famous victim.
April 18, 2016
Despite these revelations, there's still no smoking gun for Bill Genovese, and it is in this frustration where The Witness grows into something more than a cold case crime show.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
April 18, 2016
Seen in vintage 8mm home movies, Kitty Genovese emerges as a vibrant, exuberant young woman whose violent death tragically came to overshadow her much too brief life.