Gideon's Army Reviews

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½ July 28, 2014
A wonderful documentary about a very important topic. Director Nyree Dawn Porter really cares about her subjects, and chooses to give us a human story rather than just focus on the bigger issues. Like any good "true story" the characters are at the forefront, and the issue of the documentary becomes clear as we care about the people involved. It's so much easier to care about an issue when you're emotionally invested in the lives of people who are affected by the issue. This is what Porter does so effectively in Gideon's Army, and it's a film everyone in America should see.
January 23, 2014
Millions of Americans are arrested each year, many of them obviously for crimes they did not commit. and the only legal representation that more than half of these people receive is provided by just a few thousand Public Defenders across the country. This heart-warming and heart-breaking documentary gives viewers a realistic picture of the consequences.
February 10, 2014
An inside look at public defenders. It will give you a newfound respect for these hardworking professionals.
½ February 2, 2014
interesting and touching exploration behind the scenes, what public defenders go through.
½ October 22, 2013
Often it's not the good fight, but it may still be right.
½ August 21, 2013
Well made documentary. Seems to get an accurate picture of a strained area of our legal system and the folks that are part of it (couldn't say for sure, since I've never been a public defender). My biggest gripe about this documentary is also a source of internal conflict.

You get to see the humane aspects of the alleged criminals lives, with themes like family, hope, etc., which serves as a 'feel good' device. But then you realize, there were victims, in each of the example scenarios, that were subjected to threats with the use of deadly weapons; folks that didn't break any laws and depend on the protections that our society and legal system should provide them. The negative impact of the alleged crimes on the victims seem to be brushed under a rug.

This is understandable given the focus is on the public defenders, but this narrative direction almost glorifies defending these violent acts. For the record, I am sympathetic to the Gideon v. Wainwright decision, as the film even points out it benefitted the civil rights era and also serves as a check/balance in the legal system. Anyway, this film is a fascinating look into a part of the legal system that most of us take for granted or share an ignorance towards.
July 11, 2013
Excellent film about the unsung and unappreciated heros of the justice system. Would definitely recommend.
July 4, 2013
Gideon's Army is an amazing showing of the unsung advocates in America. As a former public defender and current faculty member of Gideon's Promise, I can attest to the directors outstanding ability to show the real and raw side of PD work. The day to day risk assessment , the sheer pain of pleading a client to jail time and the draining days with no thanks were show with an amazing human component. Kudos to the filmmakers and to the soldiers in the struggle. The message at the end is clear : we HAVE to support these people!
July 4, 2013
As a movie enthusiast I enjoyed this movie immensely. Dawn Porter introduces the viewers to Brandy, Travis and June. Three public defenders trained by Gideon's Promise. We see what it is like for passionate, dedicated people to fight for what they believe in, a fair trial, for their clients. How hard that can be with low pay and low prestige. The system stacks the decks against them. Porter takes us through a case that each public defender is working on. I loved the humanity and the strength portrayed in each portrait. As a public defender I enjoyed seeing a slice of several aspects of what we work on- guilty pleas, trials, and pre-trial detention. What we have here is a part one. I am really hoping for a part two that goes into more of the problems public defenders face and how that affects the millions of people who are arrested each year. This is definitely an eye opener and a discussion starter. Check it out!
July 4, 2013
This film documents the struggle to ensure equal justice for all. These are today's civil rights warriors. Collectively they are forcing a broken criminal justice system to live up to its highest ideals. Once you watch it you will be moved to do something about it!
June 25, 2013
Reasonably compelling but not intellectually rigorous. Reality-show styled film which follows around a handful of well-intentioned public defenders.
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