Encounter has a whole lot of heart and takes a sensitive approach to PTSD that is underscored by a cultural tension that comes to a head in its high-octane, action-packed final act.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
The Playlist by Gregory Ellwood
The film’s saving graces is not only Ahmed, who, as you’d expect, elevates the material every chance he gets, but his on-screen connection with Chauhan. Somehow, the relatively unknown Canadian actor gives one of the best performances from a young actor in recent memory.
The Film Stage by Jared Mobarak
Pearce and Barton set up this heavy emotional narrative dealing with mental illness, PTSD, and familial love only to undercut it with loud overtures of systemic violence devoid of textual basis.
Entertainment Weekly by Leah Greenblatt
Riz Ahmed takes Encounter a long way. But he can't single-handedly carry a film that never quite figures out what it wants to be — stark sci-fi paranoia? Psychological family drama? Desert road-trip apocalypse?
The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin
It’s a surprisingly meaty work that works on several levels at once.
While the drama gets the wind knocked out of its sails after introducing other characters, Encounter gets in plenty of emotional, nuanced scenes between Malik and his sons that become the beating heart of this often unsettling, uneven, yet strangely mesmerizing film.
The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw
It all adds up to less than we hoped, though Pearce’s direction is never less than confident.
For a film that tries to be a bravura piece of genre-hopping cinema, “Encounter” too often feels confused rather than assured.
It’s deceptively simple yet deeply philosophical stuff, channeled by first-rate genre filmmaking.
In Pearce’s sure hands, the film sustains its tension, even as it sideswipes the audience with slickly executed change of tone.