(2015)

Critic Reviews

60

Metascore

Based on 13 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Props should go to director Klaus Härö for making such a predictable premise feel fresh and his cast of characters – from a suspicious, disapproving headmaster, to the foil-swinging kids – feel engaging.
80
Acutely acted, The Fencer strikes home.
70
This well-acted, smoothly crafted drama tells a story of cross-generational bonding in the face of historical oppression, in touching if unsurprising fashion.
60
The Fencer plays an entirely predictable match right down to its final bout, but the period Soviet Block setting gives the game an interesting hook, and DoP Thomo Hutri’s muted location shots prove atmospheric.
60
The set-up is a bit schmaltzy and the only guesswork is how bitter the bittersweet ending will be, but Haro coaxes strong performances from the cast.
50
[A] blankly heroic, clunkingly predictable portrait.
50
Village Voice
The Fencer is ultimately too staid: It’s at its best when Nelis shows the art of fencing to his students and the elegant yet dangerous swords are wielded.
50
The director, Klaus Haro, films the proceedings involvingly enough.... But the movie is almost relentlessly predictable and formulaic — a story of one man’s refusal to conform that dutifully hits all its marks.
50
None of this is particularly difficult to watch; the cinematic competence, the sincerity with which the clichés get served up, and so on, make a relatively smooth viewing experience. But they also render what would have been an at times harrowing real-life story into something safe and bland.
37
Finnish Director Klaus Haro has a sharp eye, and his shots deftly juxtapose the delicate beauty of the Estonian lowlands with the harsh reality of life under Soviet rule. But the script, written by Anna Heinamaa, gives him little more than an aesthetic landscape to work with.

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