• Released
  • May 7, 2010
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • Art House/Foreign
    Documentary
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90

Arizona Republic

By Kerry Lengel
This is a challenging, brilliantly constructed film that, despite its patience and quiet tone, is engrossing from its first moments, especially an opening scene that encapsulates Jandal's poignant contradictions.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
The hidden message of The Oath is so inescapable as to be Shakespearean: Character will out.
Full Review
83

Portland Oregonian

By Marc Mohan
Her film is just as effective as a portrait of two unknowable, individual souls caught up in events of global scale.
Full Review
80

Time Out New York

By Keith Uhlich
What emerges is an illuminating, though terribly dismaying, portrait of the War on Terror’s lasting effects. Whether one retreats or steps out defiantly, there is no sanctuary.
Full Review
80

Village Voice

Early in Laura Poitras's outstanding documentary The Oath, we learn that one of its subjects, Abu Jandal, a cabdriver living in Yemen, was Osama bin Laden's bodyguard in Afghanistan.
Full Review
80

Los Angeles Times

By Betsy Sharkey
Jandal emerges as someone who was truly in Bin Laden's inner circle, Hamdan seems the menial driver he claimed to be. What remains unanswered is where their allegiances now lie. Frightening or not, terrorists or not, both seem human, which at the end of the day is what Poitras set out to do.
Full Review
70

NPR

By Mark Jenkins
Quietly, the film makes the case that "enhanced interrogation techniques" were no enhancement. Interviewing jihadis "by the book," one interrogator testifies, yielded better information than violence and deprivation.
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70

The Hollywood Reporter

Fascinating, however uneasy, viewing.
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50

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
At first, The Oath looks as though it will be a study of the soul-corroding effects of twisted ideology, but it emerges as the reverse.
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50

Boxoffice Magazine

By Pam Grady
By focusing on the human aspect of Al-Qaeda, The Oath does give the viewer something to think about, but the film is unsatisfying, raising questions and providing too few answers.
Full Review
72 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.