"The Central Park Five" is a sobering indictment of racism and vigilante justice, yet it is constrained by a PBS-style deference to the very system it critiques.
"The Central Park Five" is worth seeing, both for the ways it's timeless and for the ways it encapsulates an era.
| Original Score: 3/4
You can't help but wonder why this film wasn't made 20 years ago, when it could have saved these men some time behind bars.
| Original Score: B+
What's amazing about listening to them speak now, often through tears, is the absence of bitterness.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
You'll notice something odd as you watch and your anger rises at the injustice of it all: The anger of the wrongly convicted does not.
| Original Score: 4/5
What keeps the film from being an impossible downer is the guts and spirit and smart words of the Central Park Five, four of whom, now freed, are interviewed at length.
A miscarriage of justice on this scale would have been tragic had it resulted from an honest mistake - but, as this meticulously researched movie makes clear, honesty had little to do with it.
The [documentary] team builds a solid story from the time of the crime through the release from prison those wrongly accused and railroaded into confessing to a crime they did not commit.
The result is both compelling and infuriating.
The Central Park Five provides background drawn from contemporary media images, including crime scene footage accompanied by a detective's grisly description, as well as reflections by those involved.
Not only gripping and heartbreaking, but terrifying.
| Original Score: A
At times, this is a devastating film, one that acknowledges the desire for but refuses to buy into an easy answer.
The film offers a snapshot of the white hysteria then gripping the city, which was stoked by the tabloids and resulted in police and prosecutors railroading five black youths into prison.
Among all of the case's horrors, one of the strongest is that a serial rapist ultimately cared more about the truth than the prosecution.
An unusually good documentary about an outlandish miscarriage of justice.
Involves a detailed reconstruction of how the story broke, was developed and was dramatized by lurid tabloid headlines.
Central Park is at first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating.
A wonderfully vital, illuminating study of the New York of 20-plus years ago.
| Original Score: 8/10
... a respectable but often tedious film that adds little to what is already well known about this episode
| Original Score: 5/10
The film is well balanced visually, well paced and successful at voicing its outrage (the NYPD refused to comment). But "The Central Park Five" leaves questions unanswered...
| Original Score: B