Critic Reviews

79

Metascore

Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
With an editing approach that seamlessly blends past and present, Central Park Five contains a fluid, engaging storytelling that does away with the dry voiceover commentary and theatrical music choices that typically account for the narrative flow of most Burns films.
90
NPR
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.
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
The Hollywood Reporter
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
Variety
Mixing a breathtaking array of archival materials with new talking-head interviews, the film analyzes the monumental miscarriage of justice repped by the 1989 Central Park Jogger case.
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.
80
Village Voice
Because the filmmakers were unable to enlist anyone from the NYPD or the DA's office to participate, we are left with the sense that mistakes of this magnitude require those in error to hide from them.
70
Measured in tone and outraged in its argument, it is an emotionally stirring, at times crushingly depressing cinematic call to witness. It's also frustrating because while it re-examines the assault on the jogger and painstakingly walks you through what happened to the teenagers - from their arrest through their absolution - it fails to add anything substantively new.
63
Slant Magazine
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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