In the Land of Blood and Honey captures the sickening way the war in Bosnia became a gray zone of genocide. Yet that, unfortunately, is not enough to make it a good movie.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
- New York Times
For the most part ... it moves briskly and easily holds your attention...
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Jolie's grasp of the material is confident enough to mean that her film never slows down, or loses its way.
Andrew Pulver - Guardian [UK]
In the Land of Blood and Honey feels like the sober, hard-hitting work of a humanitarian.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
An ambitious if not entirely fully realized drama about the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
"Blood and Honey'' is both strong and headstrong, equally invested in grit and glamour with a hazy understanding of the line separating the two.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
[Jolie] has produced a sanctimonious vanity commercial for her own good intentions.
Karina Longworth - Village Voice
A movie that is often harrowing, never less than intense but important, one unafraid of moments too many have chosen to forget.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
The film may have more in ambition than it does in execution, but it deserves to be taken seriously...
James Rocchi - MSN Movies
The film does what all war films must, which is to reduce the incomprehensible suffering of countless people into the ultimate triumph of a few.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
"In the Land of Blood and Honey" clearly came from the same impulse that has led Jolie into so many humanitarian efforts around the world.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The tendency that often sinks Angelina Jolie's performances -- overemphasizing certain naturalistic behaviors at the expense of well-rounded characterization -- more or less sinks her first film as writer-director.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
It's impressively steady filmmaking for a first-timer, and a powerful, powerfully disturbing subject to take on.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The film's key twist seems a bit underdeveloped, but there's no avoiding the horror the film captures. Even in modern times, what monsters men can be.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Jolie has chosen a complex subject for her feature debut as a writer and director, and although not perfect, it's not for lack of trying.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
This alternately disturbing and titillating picture reps a dramatically misguided attempt to renew public awareness of the 1992-95 Balkan conflict.
Justin Chang - Variety
A head-spinning mix of dead babies and romantic dinners, pillow talk and mass executions. Blood and honey don't taste right together.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
Jolie crafts a watchable, engaging drama set amid the Bosnian War, proof that she has paid attention during all of these years in front of the camera and has been able to translate that into some skill behind it.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Breaks no fresh ground in the tradition of staid, grim war dramas from which it hails, but Jolie successfully capitalizes on a juicy premise.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
Although Jolie's good intentions are easy to admire, those characters are hard to believe, and the bloody narrative has an oddly bloodless effect.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
Soberly and elegantly shot.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Jolie deserves significant credit for creating such a powerfully oppressive atmosphere and staging the ghastly events so credibly, even if it is these very strengths that will make people not want to watch what's onscreen.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
There isn't enough context given to the overall conflict, and the love story feels increasingly myopic as the war drags on and the film's ambitions broaden.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
The most compelling, heartfelt movie Jolie has made in years. She isn't in it, but she's all over it.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
Jolie has a keen eye for the core of a scene and a true director's instinct for the pulse that defines character. Her live-wire movie is out to shake us.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Is it a bad sign when you want a movie to end almost as much as the war it's about?
Sam Adams - Los Angeles Times
Unfortunately, "Blood and Honey" has script problems: Its core story is less compelling than its overall atmosphere.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
In The Land Of Blood And Honey is a compelling story that is enhanced by the well-researched portrayal of the politics behind the conflict and the ways that people were made to cope.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
...not incompetently made, and it suggests that Jolie might have a real shot at someday being a very good director. But it leaves us with a feeling so queasy and uncomfortable one hesitates to give it voice: Could she really think this dynamic is sexy?
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Jolie never shies away from the horrors of war, with scene after scene of ethnic cleansing and war atrocities, but it suffers from an emotionally distant script and some weird editing that make the film's languid pace even more noticeable.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
It's a good movie on a great subject, even if it is well short of a great film.
Roger Moore - McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Jolie wants to tell a tragic love story amid the ruins, between a Serb and a Muslim, but she can never get a bead on who these two people are or how they feel about each other.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
In the Land of Blood and Honey is a relentless, disturbing chronicle of cruelty. It is bleak and brutal. Angelina Jolie is showing this could be -- and still is -- happening in other parts of the world.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Overall, Jolie has nothing to be embarrassed about and much of which to be proud with this movie. Even in moments where the film doesn't quite work, she shows ample evidence of ambition and a discerning director's eye.
Leah Rozen - The Wrap
A brilliant debut written and directed by Jolie. She has an artist's eye, strong personal vision, and a masterful command of her stars.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
Jolie, however, shows great promise as a visual storyteller, even though this love story is stretched too thinly.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
[T]hough it is written and directed by actress Angelina Jolie... there is nothing 'Hollywood' about this film: it stars local actors and is in the local languages, and it shies not one whit from the horrors of the war.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Never less than competent, it's clearly the result of a sincere, long-harboured desire to raise awareness of these horrific, dehumanising events.
Rob Beames - Daily Telegraph
This is an often impressive first feature and clearly a sincere and hard-hitting exposure of a terrible time.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
With its broad strokes, this invitation to an important discussion is hard to ignore, but the blood and honey on the table is an unpalatable mix.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It's a tough, clear-eyed look at a ghastly ethnic war, with an admirably wide perspective that affords compassion for both sides.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Sincere and ambitious yet inadequate...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Jolie has a number of things on her side here, including a superb cast that is mostly unknown to western viewers -- always a boon to the willing suspension of disbelief.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Jolie's is a lean direction, with a fine eye for evocative composition and a blistering sense of outrage cloaked equally well in the tension of shocked silence as in the expected wails of anguish
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
An admirable but cold effort clearly meant to incite more feeling than is present by the end credit roll.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
A daring and ambitious undertaking for a first time writer and director
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
It's a brutal, upsetting viewing experience that parses the physical, emotional and moral tolls of war and indicts world-governing bodies for failing to intervene.
Annlee Ellingson - Paste Magazine
Jolie will happily serve up sexual violence and disturbing gunplay to smack around her audience, but meaningful characterization is lacking, constipating the soulfulness of the screenplay.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A grim, grisly, graphic, cross-cultural love story from a humanitarian activist.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
In spite of its purported intent -- to vividly portray criminal warfare -- [Jolie's] new film bleeds with the delight of capturing violence for its own sake.
Matthew Sorrento - Film Threat
In her deep desire to send a message about the atrocities committed in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, [Jolie] forgets to spend much time on emotionally interesting characters.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Writer/director Angelina Jolie makes her feature film debut with a love story that is more complex than the usual lovers-separated-across-political/racial/religious-divides theme we've seen so many times
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
...an earnest, heart-on-her-sleeve writing/directing debut for Jolie.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
As powerful as its creator, Angelina Jolie, whose spirit hovers over her writing-directing-producing debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey shows the horrifying byproducts of the terrible war in the former Yugoslavia.
Marsha McCreadie - Film Journal International
Despite its obvious sincerity, it feels like nothing so much as the world's grimmest Lifetime movie.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Jolie is aiming high here, her influences are impeccable. Her game, however, could use a little work.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
A mix of the powerful and the ridiculous, and eventually the ridiculous wins.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
A movie about a specific event shouldn't feel so general.
Matt Pais - RedEye
You watch the movie wanting to look away, even as it reminds us of history that shouldn't be forgotten.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
This is an impressive piece of work that doesn't flinch from the atrocities that no doubt motivated Jolie to make the film in the first place.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Thanks to the cast and chaotic historical backdrop, the horror of hate and war takes on a compelling human face.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
It's a testament to the strength of Jolie's craft that the taboo relationship at the picture's core is interwoven into the wartime fabric without seeming like a cop out.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Consequently, despite regularly jumping forward in time with sudden rapidity, this wannabe-serious film comes off as not just unenlightening, but borderline-interminable.
Nick Schager - Boxoffice Magazine
In the Land of Blood and Honey is far from the best movie on this subject made since the war ended -- or even this year.
Mark Jenkins - NPR
Refuses to let anyone off easy, its director included.
Stephen Saito - Premiere Magazine
A brilliant and astonishing writing and directorial debut from Angelina Jolie. Uncompromising.
Pete Hammond - Back Stage
Feels more like one of those overly scripted appearances celebrity activists are always making in front of Congress.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
There are plenty of moviegoers who're unaware of global atrocities but not so many who also want to sit through a mediocre bummer starring nobody they've ever heard of. With subtitles.
Dave White - Movies.com
A brave work of art and a must-see. Blood and Honey will leave you shaken, and it's an experience you owe yourself to have.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
Subtlety and understatement become collateral damage as Jolie drives her points home as forcefully as possible and the film devolves into a grubby melodrama that fails to edify or entertain.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
Curiosity over how [Angelina] Jolie fares as a filmmaker will only go so far in establishing an audience for this solemn and punishing tragic romance.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
In the Land of Blood and Honey is gratifyingly short on lectures and, interestingly, on history lessons.
Alison Willmore - Movieline
Jolie raises a crucial issue: What are you willing to do to survive? What can you live with? Where do your loyalties ultimately lie?
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Jolie acquits herself more honorably as director than writer in her debut, a simplistic, contrived Romeo and Juliet melodrama, in which there are no secondary characters and litte attention is paid to the broader political context
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
An admirably complex take on the horror of the rape camps, where Serb militia men performed ritual humiliations upon Bosnian women.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out New York
Not a celebrity vanity project, but an astute, dramatically gripping, deeply feminist work. Despite some script problems, the film is a surprising triumph in so many ways.
Caryn James - James on screenS
After a while, Jolie's catalogue of horrors begins to feel less like a necessary addition to an underconsulted historical record and more like a numbing assault on the viewer.
Andrew Schenker - Slant Magazine
[Jolie's] stretch is bigger than her grasp.
Howard Feinstein - Screen International