A Seemingly Endless Sentence Is Offered as a Seemingly Endless Movie
Movies have many techniques for keeping you interested and making the time go fast. A moving camera, attractive sets and actors speaking witty lines, and a pleasing score will make the 90 minutes or so of a movie fly. Contrariwise, when a moviemaker wishes to instill a sense of oppression, any of these elements can be left out.
This is a movie based on a real event. In 1980, a black man in that troubled Brooklyn neighborhood was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 15-to-life as the driver in a drive-by shooting. The trouble is, he didn't do it; he was busy stealing and running over someone else at the time.
This movie recounts the twenty-one-year struggle by him and his brother to get him freed. And during the period of his incarceration, the deadening effect of that imprisonment is made apparent by leaving out all those techniques that would serve to make the lives of the people in this movie more interesting.
The trouble is that the audience is also subject to this oppressive and boring tedium. As a result, this 94-minute feature, which might have made an excellent documentary, fails in the first duty of any piece of art: to engage and, yes, entertain its audience. All we learn is that people make mistakes and take a long time to figure things out.
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