Title – The Central Park Five (2012)
Director – Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon
Cast – Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise, Antron McCray
Plot – This newly released documentary focuses on the case of 5 black youths that were charged with the rape and attempted murder of the Central Park jogger in 1989, a time in New York where racial tensions were at a boiling point and crime rampant. The film looks to examine the mishandling of this case and how the 5 youths lives were forever affected by it.
“The truth came out. The truth came out.”
Review by Eddie on 4/11/2013
The Central Park Five presents a very interesting case of a miscarriage of justice that when presented with all facts today offers up a shameful example of using the weak and underprivileged as scape goats for a wider hatred/need for answers. This documentary by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon is an insightful piece but not a particularly inspired documentary.
Featuring 4 talking heads out of the 5 wrongly incarcerated youths and 1 via voice over the documentary kicks off with not a whole lot of backstory and a large focus on events of the night of the attack. The events as recounted here offer up an examination of a night of unbridled anarchy in Central Park in which random attacks were carried out on members of the public and eventually the horrific rape and attempted murder of the female jogging victim. These are quite terrifying memories played out here in the documentary but not nearly as terrifying as what happened to the 5 boys under police examination.
This is where Central Park best displays it’s wares. This 30 – 40 minute stretch of the movie where the boys recount how they felt in police custody and what they were subject to is nothing short of and outrage and the film does a great job of not just pointing fingers but allowing the boys to simply explain their reasoning’s behind there made up and un-matching statements. With this patch of the documentary the viewer has no choice but to agree what happened with the charging of suspects in this case is a true outrage.
Central Park Five is a workmanlike film, for those that know little of the case as I did or those that have an interest in it will find much to gather up from the film while it never really reaches for the stars or tries to accomplish anything it’s not. Not one of the best documentary’s in recent memories but one worth seeking out as a citizen of a free speech country and a reminder that sometimes the first answer isn’t always the right one.
3 false statements out of 5
- Judge Denies City’s Appeal For Outtakes From ‘Central Park Five’ Documentary (manhattan.ny1.com)
- DVD Review: The Central Park Five [M15] (supermarcey.com)
- Filmmaker Ken Burns receives award during live webcast (tuftsdaily.com)