Critics Consensus

Gracefully assembled and ultimately disquieting, Timbuktu is a timely film with a powerful message.



Total Count: 120


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,571
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Movie Info

Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), his daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), and Issan (Mehdi Ag Mohamed), their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes abruptly in this stunningly rendered film from a master of world cinema. (C) CohenMedia

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Critic Reviews for Timbuktu

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (35)

Audience Reviews for Timbuktu

  • Oct 11, 2015
    A devastating portrait of religious hell as a place under the rule of jihadists who employ abuse, intimidation and horrendous punishments on those who disobey their abominable laws - proof that, as Steven Weinberg said it, "for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2015
    The film's narrative proves to be a strong argument against religious extremism (essentially by arguing that no one could ever follow such strict rules to the letter, even those enforcing them) despite never feeling that it has an ax to grind.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 19, 2015
    In a city in the middle of the desert, so-called Islamist militants have occupied it by gunpoint and started issuing arbitrary restrictions, leading up to the most serious punishment for adultery. At the same time, they show no respect for the residents' traditions while quoting Koran verses out of context to suit their own nefarious purposes. For example, Abdelkerim(Abel Jafri) looks in on a married woman whenever he knows her husband is not at home which she finds offensive. With his previous film "Bamako" and now his latest "Timbuktu," director Abderrahmane Sissako has lots to say which is always commendable. What is not so much except for some memorable imagery like a soccer game being played without a ball and a woman with a big bird on her shoulder blocking the way of an SUV is his still not quite figuring out how to put his thoughts into a narrative context which Margaret Atwood did so well in her similarly themed novel 'A Handmaid's Tale.' In fact, "Timbuktu" has little momentum at all, simply circling back to the deer hunt at the beginning of the movie. This is a shame because there is a lot here that could certainly be considered relevant.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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