Time Out New York

By David Fear
This unflinching parable brings the hammer down on its cinematic brethren's fetishization of cell-block Rockefellers. R's final shot says it all: The house wins. The house always wins.
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Slant Magazine

By Glenn Heath Jr.
If the trajectory of R foreshadows tragedy early and often (what prison film doesn't?), the filmmakers manage to infuse quiet moments of reflection and panic into each man's traumatic experience.
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New York Post

By V.A. Musetto
If you were among the many who thought highly of "A Prophet," the French prison drama that played here last year, you'll want to see the brutally realistic Danish thriller R.
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The New York Times

By Stephen Holden
Isn't as hellish as the situation behind bars is portrayed in American movies, some of which are so gory they qualify as prison porn. But it is awful enough.
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More pathetic than sympathetic, the young protags are not romanticized or made heroic. While this suits the style of the picture, which never conforms to the melodramatic conventions and stock characters of the prison genre, it also works against audience identification.
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Village Voice

Following "Prophet" director Jacques Audiard's lead, Lindholm and Noer attempt to make up in raw emotion what their film lacks in context, an approach good for a surprising amount of mileage, until the project finally chokes on its own inevitable nihilism.
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67 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.