19 November 2012 9:36 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

One of the few documentarians whose name has solidified into a brand, Ken Burns' style has even birthed its own noun: "The Ken Burns Effect" describes that overly familiar technique of zooming and panning across closeups of still images that Burns repeatedly uses in his historical documentaries. There's a reason that Burns' filmmaking tool has gained nearly as much prominence as the movies he uses it in: While impeccably researched and often stunningly comprehensive in their scholarly overviews of major historical events, Burns' movies generally lack both immediacy or strong arguments about their subjects. Devoid of drama, a Burns PBS documentary takes a patient, measured approach to surveying lengthy historical periods that's embodied by the effect bearing his name.   "The Central Park Five," which opens in several cities this Friday, provides a welcome exception to the usual Burns routine. Part of its distinction unquestionably »


- Eric Kohn

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