Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The Grey Zone should be seen: It's a worthy ordeal, with flaws that, ironically, make grist for later arguments.
The cumulative effect of the relentless horror on parade numbs the movie's power as a work of drama.
New York Times:
The more realistic The Grey Zone pretends to be, the more its unrealistic elements stand out.
Los Angeles Times:
It isn't just that there's something unsettling about a film that aestheticizes a crematorium; it's that there's something trivializing about the very effort.
Even in its darkest moments, a heartening defiance underlies gut-wrenching calamity.
No dramatic feature has ever come quite this close to the matter-of-fact ugliness of the Nazi crimes.
Globe and Mail:
The film ... presents classic moral-condundrum drama: What would you have done to survive? The problem with the film is whether these ambitions, laudable in themselves, justify a theatrical simulation of the death camp of Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
Unlike the nauseating fictions peddled by such 'Have-yourself-a-happy-little-Holocaust' movies as Life Is Beautiful and Jakob the Liar, The Grey Zone is honest enough to deny the possibility of hope in Auschwitz.
Holocaust films are problematic, period. The Grey Zone is, sadly, more evidence of the qualities of silence.
New York Observer:
From both a great and a terrible story, Mr. Nelson has made a film that is an undeniably worthy and devastating experience.
The Grey Zone gives life and meaning to an event that is little more than a footnote in history books.
I have seen a lot of films about the Holocaust, but I have never seen one so immediate, unblinking and painful in its materials.
Although the movie takes us further into the actual process of industrial death at Auschwitz than any American movie has yet dared, The Grey Zone never stoops to sensation or melodrama.
Nelson ... invests this unusual Holocaust drama with dramatic intensity that in no way cheapens its subject matter.
Re-creating Auschwitz somehow domesticates it; the smokestacks look like pieces from an infernal Monopoly board, while the extras appear suspiciously well-fed.