William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (2009)

During the second half of the 20th century, William Kunstler was one of the most admired attorneys in America -- and one of the most hated. Kunstler was a man who thrived on controversial cases; in the 1960s, he specialized in defending… More

Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: November 13, 2009
DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
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Critic Score: 79% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: It doesn't even feign impartiality, but this family-made documentary about the famously rabble-rousing attorney shines a light on the life and times of a divisive public figure.

Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Like the recent animated documentary Chicago Ten, this is a timely reminder of a era when "change" was more than just a campaign slogan. But it's also a personal portrait, with shadings.

Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times

Terrific archival footage from a range of seminal civil rights events, as well as affecting narration written by Sarah Kunstler and spoken by Emily Kunstler (who also edited the film), round out this superior documentary.

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Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope

A testament, at least in part, to Kunstler's long and controversial career as a lawyer-activist, defending members of minorities and unpopular causes, and changing the law and the country in the process.

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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe offers a deeply personal view of a larger-than-life figure. It's a view filtered through a prism of memory and emotion, but one well worth investigating.

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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post

The film's point is clear. And for those looking for a straight answer, it's this: The bravest lawyer isn't the one who takes on the clients that allow him to feel good about himself. It's the one who takes on the clients that give us nightmares.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Tries to examine and then reconcile Kunstler's legacy as a fighter for causes with his choosing to defend mobsters, terrorists, rapists and drug dealers.

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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

Leading the defense in the 1969-70 trial of the Chicago Seven, William Kunstler became a radical and a celebrity, and this vivid documentary captures how those two facets of his life worked together in morally urgent and contradictory ways.

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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times

Kunstler's accomplishments, principles and courage are all here in Disturbing the Universe. But there is something else that adds an unexpected layer of emotional complexity.

Louis Proyect

Still worth seeing despite the co-directors' inability to understand that a great lawyer will go out of his or her way to defend people being tried and convicted in places like the NY Post.

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Flixster Audience Score: 77% Flixster User Reviews
Walter M.
Normally, I hesitate whenever there is a documentary about a notable figure by family members, due to their general lack of perspective on the subject.(I'm… More