Movie Reviews: The Cenral Park Five




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     (1 hr. 59 Min.)
     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
     Antron McCray, Yuself Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Angela Black, Calvin O. Butts III, Natalie Byfield, David Dinkins
Bottom Line:

Jonathan McMillan

In April 1989 five young minority boys from New York were accused of a horrific, violent, brutal rape and beating of a jogger in the city’s revered Central Park. The incident gave birth to the term "wilding," which was supposedly used by one of the young men and subsequently used repeatedly by newscasters to describe the alleged behavior of the five teenagers. 

The attack was so brutal that Mario Cuomo, then the governor of New York, publicly stated, "None of us is safe...even if you lock your doors." Ed Koch, the mayor of New York at the time declared, "The criminal justice system isn't working." 
Sadly, and maybe ironically, the mayor’s words proved to be truer than most realized at the time. 

The Central Park Five is a documentary by famed filmmaker Ken Burns highlighting the injustice forced upon Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam. 

Of the many quotes in the film from politicians, or even the recounting of their individual stories by the five men themselves, no one sums up the police work and case they presented that prosecuted the teenagers better than New York Times journalist Jim Dwyer when he says, "truth, reality, justice were not part of it."
This documentary evokes many emotions from sadness for the jogger who was attacked, to pure anger towards the prejudice and injustice that robbed five young men of up to 12 years of their lives.

Ken Burns better known for documentaries on baseball or prohibition delves may have made his most controversial if not intriguing and compelling film with this subject matter. Attorneys for the city of New York has subpoenaed for access to footage from production of the documentary to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the young men. The city maintains that the film "crossed the line from journalism to advocacy" on behalf of the wrongly convicted men. 

I for one ask, if not him, then who? 



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