90

The New York Times

By A.O. Scott
The film is a cat-and-mouse game in which each player thinks he’s the cat, making it both thrilling and disconcerting to watch. It is also a nature documentary about behavior at the very top of the imperial food chain and a detective story about the search for a mystery that is hidden in plain sight.
Full Review
88

Boston Globe

By Mark Feeney
“The Fog of War” (2003), about McNamara, won Morris a best documentary feature Oscar. The Unknown Known takes its title from a favorite phrase of Rumsfeld. It also accurately describes its subject, whose smiling inscrutability makes him consistently fascinating and often maddening.
Full Review
88

RogerEbert.com

Amounts to a valuable if tremendously damning commentary on our current political culture.
Full Review
80

The Dissolve

By Scott Tobias
The fact that Morris applies the same basic methodology to The Unknown Known that he did to the The Fog Of War makes the contrast between the two men meaningful, and says something profound about Rumsfeld, too.
Full Review
80

New York Daily News

By Joe Neumaier
Intoxicating, and at times maddening, to watch.
Full Review
80

Empire

By Angie Errigo
Dedicated to Morris’ champion, Roger Ebert, who would be proud, this is a provocative, revelatory and disturbing film.
Full Review
80

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
This film, which might have been called "The Fog of Words," isn't haunting, but dismaying. Mr. Rumsfeld is, as always, articulate, energetic and self-confident. Yet his words suggest a paradox — a restless mind with no discernible gift for self-reflection.
Full Review
80

Variety

By Scott Foundas
Ranging over familiar material, but made vivid by Morris’ fecund associations and invigorating stylistic flourishes.
Full Review
75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Bill Stamets
Focusing on Rumsfeld’s 2001-06 stint at the Pentagon, Morris scrutinizes his rhetoric and rationale for attacking Iraq and Afghanistan. Tactics and costs take a back seat to semantics.
Full Review
67

Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
To take the playfully convoluted, semi-nonsensical aggression of Rumsfeld's language and make it the whole point of a movie is to fall into the trap of mistaking the spin for the story.
Full Review
69 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.