Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
While White Material is very much the story of this one woman, it is also a story of postcolonial Africa, a place where Europeans staked their claim, and where disorder and destruction upended everything. A mournful, frightening, powerful film.
This is a beautiful, puzzling film. The enigmatic quality of Huppert's performance draws us in.
Yet in the end it's less the climactic madness and mayhem in White Material that sear the memory than it is the silent, balletic creep of child soldiers, grabbed out of school and sent with machetes and rifles through a forest to exact revenge for decades of repression.
This haunting drama by Claire Denis burns with a mute fear and rage at the ongoing atrocities in central Africa.
Denis' viewpoint and sympathies are sophisticated, complex and humane.
A lean and hungry thing. With the sparest of storytelling, the French filmmaker ("35 Shots of Rum") devours her audience, swallowing us up in a yarn that is as enigmatic as it is engrossing.
What sustains the film is its tone of almost hallucinatory foreboding. White Material isn't about the calm before the storm but the seconds before the deluge.
Its dramatic vexations are at war with Denis' prodigious visual skill. And the fight, ultimately, rewards the viewer.
Boxoffice Magazine
This is one of Denis's most provocative films and also one of her most compelling.
Claire Denis' drama is an overly fastidious but insight-filled look at post-colonial Africa.

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