Critic Reviews

79

Metascore

Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
90
Its greatest advantage over the book is that this is a story well-documented in moving pictures. In addition to recent interviews with the five, the filmmakers deftly marshal news footage, clips from the supposed confessions, and trenchant analysis.
88
The case transfixed a racially polarized New York City. The teens were labeled as a "wolf pack" by the news media, led by the New York tabloids.
88
An unusually good documentary about an outlandish miscarriage of justice.
88
If the second hour or so isn't as strong as the first, it's because the filmmaking fails to rise to the injustice that's befallen its subjects since their exoneration. It can't, really.
83
This patient, righteous documentary by Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns recounts the story of justice undone (a serial rapist confessed) with extensive interviews, a thorough use of archival footage, and a less-than felicitous use of ominous-rumble music that unnecessarily insists, Isn't this an outrage?
80
A meticulously reported chronicle of a case that shook New York in 1989 and remains a mark of shame on the city ten years after the convictions were vacated, the film incisively documents a travesty of justice that echoes the infamous Scottsboro Boys railroading of the 1930s.
80
It's a different city today, in a country that sees its racial and social divides with more clarity than it did back then. But the most troubling question the film raises is how clearly we may see even now.
80
The attention to detail is fine-grained, especially on the slippery slope of plea bargaining. Missing are two pieces that might have turned this into an urban classic.
75
Worth seeing, both for the ways it's timeless and for the ways it encapsulates an era.
63
Though relentlessly and admirably logical, the movie constantly glosses over the buried human element.
50
Ultimately fails to make its case that five teenagers were sent to jail for a crime they didn't commit solely because of institutional racism.

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