Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Film Journal International
McCabe stands apart not just for the impressive technical virtuosity of his filmmaking or his unblinking focus on the tragedy of the Congo, but for his refusal to chalk it up to generalized Third World chaos. Things happen for a reason, this devoutly humane but studious documentary argues, and until those reasons are dealt with, they will continue.
Village Voice
McCabe served as cinematographer, and his images here vary from striking to scarifying to magnificent. But his film’s power comes from its voices.
Screen Daily
A documentary of stunning beauty and tragic violence.
This Is Congo has a point to prove and a righteous fury with which to prove it. But it’s focused and precise, which makes the sheer breadth of context required to understand it much easier to digest.
This Is Congo is an angry film, yet one which is never blinded by its anger. McCabe offers no solutions – the UN Peacekeeping Force are rounded on at one point by furious locals – and no grounds for optimism. Yet even in its attempts to understand and to communicate that understanding, there is a defiance against the easy fallback of despair.
As a contemporary study of the violent struggle between the hamstrung Congolese national army and M23 rebel forces in the North Kivu region, the film is often blisteringly effective, venturing to the frontline in pursuit of raw war footage likely to open many an outside viewer’s eyes — or, at its harshest interludes, prompt them to squeeze tightly shut.
McCabe’s goal for his film is to show the chaos objectively and thus not take sides or betray the reality of just how corrupt this fight proves. He places hubris, dignity, fear, and courage onscreen—raw and unfiltered.
There is much to admire here, but the sheer scope of the subject matter might be even better served by the capaciousness of a mini-series.
A difficult, depressing watch.
Both an unexciting and by-the-numbers history lesson and an inside-view, you-are-there look at an underreported armed conflict, the documentary This Is Congo is almost as full of contradictions as the nation it is trying to portray.

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