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.
It is another example of what Ken Burns does so well. It is a film that brings a well known but little understood aspect of American history to life. The broad scope of the film is monumental. It covers, in fair detail, the creation of all the major National Parks while delving into the people, the politics, the conflicts, and the personal stories behind the scenes. As with other of Ken's work, you begin to feel that the people in the story are family friends or people you have known for years. You understand how personalities shape events and move American custom and law. You are left with an appreciation of American democracy and freedom and the unruly way Americans sometimes resolve internal conflict how popularity and simply "the right thing" can win the day after a good fight.
The film is interspersed with glimpses of typical Americans and reveals their most delicate feelings in experiencing the National Parks. It is very effective at illustrating the transformative power of natural beauty, its healing and empowering effects on the soul, and our deep connections to nature and wildlife and our deep needs for it. The film is as much about the why humans seek to preserve natural beauty as it is a history of it.
It all works. It is a masterful piece of art and you will enjoy and be moved by it.
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