Film Review : The Central Park Five (2012)

Netflix Watch Instant
IMDB Score – 7.6
Rotten Tomato Score – 93%

Directed By : Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

There’s nothing like watching a documentary like this at midnight and having your blood boil so much that you can’t get to sleep after it’s over. That was my experience watching The Central Park Five. I was born in 1989 so my memory of these events and the following trials were how I like to say in New Jersey non freaking existent. I’ll be honest, I’ve never even heard of this trial until I read about this film a couple months ago. The trial and crime swept my native tri-state area more than twenty years ago and the fact that I’ve never heard of it just shows how forgetful the media can be, forgetful and menacing.

The film really does a great job building up tension as pretty much all the key players are present giving interviews including the kids (now adults). The only people absent are the detectives themselves but nobody really expected them to show their faces on film and tell us how wrong they ended up being. It really was unbelievable how the events took place as the NYPD basically lied out their asses so that they could convict basically five kids who showed up first. It’s also a wonderfully character study on the psychology of being interrogated for 30 hours straight and how you’ll literally say anything to get out of that room. It’s hard to talk about this film without giving most of the events that take place away, even though these events are pretty much known to most people anyway.

The film ended up being infuriating but highly interesting and intense. The fact that it’s on Netflix is just another good reason to check out The Central Park Five.


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