The Central Park Five - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Central Park Five Reviews

Top Critic
David Hiltbrand
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 17, 2013
It's a vivid and gripping documentary (although, at two hours, somewhat longer than it needs to be), a grave indictment of a city and a system at the breaking point.
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
December 24, 2012
Expect your blood pressure to rise during The Central Park Five.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 21, 2012
The doc is rife with smart or wrenching or shameful moments. The fresh interviews with the accused, now men, are invaluable.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 14, 2012
As grim a portrait of the criminal justice system as can be imagined.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
December 14, 2012
How could this second crime have occurred? The film asks that question but only partly answers it, and in the process it raises an even more troubling one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 13, 2012
"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.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 13, 2012
"The Central Park Five" is worth seeing, both for the ways it's timeless and for the ways it encapsulates an era.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
December 13, 2012
What's amazing about listening to them speak now, often through tears, is the absence of bitterness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 13, 2012
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
December 6, 2012
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.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 6, 2012
An unusually good documentary about an outlandish miscarriage of justice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 6, 2012
Involves a detailed reconstruction of how the story broke, was developed and was dramatized by lurid tabloid headlines.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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David Denby
New Yorker
December 5, 2012
Central Park is at first discomforting, then enraging, then illuminating.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 30, 2012
What she and her father and husband have drawn from this material is a combustible amalgam: a movie about justice violated, rectified, and denied.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 29, 2012
A careful, thoughtful documentary that meticulously re-creates what happened on that night and details how and why everything went so terribly off-course.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2012
Watching "The Central Park Five" is a deeply affecting experience.
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
November 29, 2012
A skillfully told and important story, though less factual blow-by-blow and more time spent with the five would have been more compelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
November 27, 2012
Even as "The Central Park Five" seeks satisfactory answers, it stirs outrage and discouragement all over again.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 23, 2012
It's still chilling to see how easily "The Central Park Five" evokes those mad days of urban distrust.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
November 22, 2012
In addition to recent interviews with the five, the filmmakers deftly marshal news footage, clips from the supposed confessions, and trenchant analysis.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
November 22, 2012
Measured in tone and outraged in its argument, it is an emotionally stirring, at times crushingly depressing cinematic call to witness.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Noel Murray
AV Club
November 22, 2012
It never expands its scope or meaning over the course of its two-hour running time. But the specifics make the story powerful regardless.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
November 21, 2012
"The Central Park Five" 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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
November 20, 2012
This effort is required viewing for anyone content to remember a dangerous town from afar.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
November 20, 2012
[A] patient, righteous documentary ...
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Casey Burchby
Village Voice
November 20, 2012
The central power of the film comes from hearing the accused finally telling their own stories.
Top Critic
September 9, 2012
It's a troubling film, but it's well done and thought-provoking.
Top Critic
Alissa Simon
Variety
June 1, 2012
A gripping investigative docu from co-directors Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon.
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David Rooney
Hollywood Reporter
May 24, 2012
The film incisively documents a travesty of justice that echoes the infamous Scottsboro Boys railroading of the 1930s.