The Oath Reviews

  • [Director Laura Poitras] goes to great lengths to inject surprise into the narrative, strategically withholding information, including the double and triple meanings of her title.

    Mike Hale — New York Times

  • (The Oath movie review at Washington Post)

    Ann Hornaday — Washington Post

  • A documentary that at its start purports to be the tale of two terrorists, the film keeps deepening and widening until it becomes a subtle, stubborn moral drama about users and the used.

    Ty Burr — Boston Globe

  • In its roundabout way, this usefully meandering documentary probes the enduring stain of Guantanamo on its victims and on America.

    Ella Taylor — Village Voice

  • Poitras's movie digs deep; it hints at the violently conflicting drives that an intelligent human being may be liable to.

    David Denby — New Yorker

  • Poitras has opened up a fascinating window into the minds of the people who hate us, apparently not so much for our freedom as for our arrogance, our belief that we are the center of the universe.

    Jonathan F. Richards — Film.com

  • Just how deep inside Jandal's world Poitras goes is all the more striking given the inherent cultural barriers and danger she faced as a female filmmaker shooting a former Al Qaeda operative in Yemen.

    Betsy Sharkey — Los Angeles Times

  • (The Oath movie review at Shadows on the Wall)

    Rich Cline — Shadows on the Wall

  • A riveting documentary that unfolds as a political thriller.

    Emanuel Levy — EmanuelLevy.Com

  • (The Oath movie review at Miami Herald)

    Rene Rodriguez — Miami Herald

  • ... a film of many individual moments which offers up a selection of contradictory and conflicting information (much of it from the lips of Abu Jandal) and requires the viewer to come up with their own version of the truth.

    Sarah Boslaugh — Playback:stl

  • In the end, what I took away from "The Oath" was an affirmation of the importance of the rule of law, that we should judge people by their crimes. The human heart is too complex and contradictory to be easily categorized as "good" or "evil."

    Rob Thomas — Wisconsin State Journal

  • The Oath makes spare use of images to convey a great deal. Al-Bahri's smiling child is surrounded by lethal weapons that are little more than toys to him. The color-drained skies of Guantanamo are juxtaposed with the lively Yemeni street scenes.

    John Hartl — Seattle Times

  • The essential information in The Oath could have been boiled down to 30 minutes, but the good parts are indeed good.

    Mick LaSalle — San Francisco Chronicle

  • Poitras makes salient political points about the efficacy and morality of some of the methods the United States used in what used to be called the global war on terror, but her film is just as effective as a portrait of two unknowable, individual souls...

    Marc Mohan — Oregonian

  • Compelling both as drama and as an indictment of the eight years of folly known as the War on Terror.

    Peter Keough — Boston Phoenix

  • Director Laura Poitras does something remarkable, and in its own way instructive and important: she constructs a three-dimensional portrait of a conflicted ex-jihadist.

    Brent Simon — Shared Darkness

  • [Director Laura] Poitras isn't politicizing her subject, she's advocating for the sort of deeper consideration that gets lost in a "who shouts loudest?" media culture.

    Geoff Berkshire — Metromix.com

  • One will not soon forget Abu Jandal.

    Annlee Ellingson — Moving Pictures Magazine

  • A thought-provoking documentary on the toxic spin-offs from both Al-Qaeda and the U.S. War on Terror.

    Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat — Spirituality and Practice

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