The Central Park Five - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Central Park Five Reviews

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February 13, 2015
Riveting would be the word I would use to describe this documentary. When I heard Ken Burns was involved, I immediately wanted to see it. Fortunately, our local theater had a special screening otherwise it would not have been shown in our area. Shortly after seeing the film, I attended a lecture featuring Michelle Alexander author of the book "The New Jim Crow." Her speaking about mass incarceration of minority youths coupled with the true story behind Central Park Five would give anyone pause if asked to evaluate our criminal justice system.
½ January 19, 2015
In the film, Antron McCray states that the truth will come out. It did come out. In the meantime these boys suffered injustice. These boys suffered an injustice that could easily be experienced in 2015. In the news we hear of places like Ferguson and present day New York. We hear of police overstepping their bounds when it comes to interrogating. We hear of police brutality. There are those who say when you raise these issues you are speaking against the very same people who are there to protect you. That is far from the truth. Anybody who speaks out against these abuses are merely against those who are overstepping their authority. The vast majority of police are heroes. The vast majority of police are people we should be looking up to.
½ November 6, 2014
The comments during and after the case by Donald Trump are despicable. It also would have been nice to see prosecutions of all those involved in the stitch up, of course it will never happen.
October 20, 2014
The justice system's abject failure would be hilarious were it not true. So complete was the perversion of the truth that it allowed a rapist & murderer to demonstrate more integrity than the whole of New York. 'The Central Park Five' is a quietly enraging portrayal of human failing. Watch, but watch with caution. Rent it.
October 12, 2014
The Central Park Five was a film if spontaneous actions and it kept you guessing throughout the movie. This movie made it visible to all people ho are familiar and not familiar with the case that during this time the way the police in New York City were very corrupt and obviously did not know the meaning of innocence in this situation. They wanted to reach out to all of the people in the United States to raise awareness for this issue especially in the time before their civil suit was resolved. The men that were shown in this video deserved to get their story out about how the police treated them and how they were on a good track in life which was messed up because of poor decisions made by the police in this time. This movie was well put together and allowed the audience to spend the whole film guessing every awful thing that will happen next to these innocent men. Even though the film has a happy ending for the men, the audience is still upset with every poor decision made by the police and it sickens them to see how this poor decision effects the children of this story.
October 9, 2014
Brutal. Sad. Frustrating. Irritating. Simple evidence was completely ignored all for a very racially-charged indictment and prosecution. There aren't enough Law & Order episodes to compare to something this repulsively true. While longer than I believe it needed to be, it's still very well constructed and told.
August 22, 2014
great documentary! A must see!
July 14, 2014
i remember this case
June 28, 2014
A heart-breaking examination of the injustice done to 5 kids by our system. Like all great documentaries it speaks to many truths. My biggest complaint is how easily they skip the years these men were in jail.
June 9, 2014
Compelling and terrifying in equal measure, Burns does it again.
May 2, 2014
Brilliant documentary laying out a set of social injustices in 1989 New York City. I remember being roughly the same age as these 5 teenagers and in high school in Brooklyn when it happened. I recall my history teacher pulling out the newspaper and showing us the front page with the headshots of these kids and the term "wilding" appearing in large bold letters. I also remembered sitting next to a black classmate and both of us discussing how the kids were all black and Hispanic. This in a predominately black and Hispanic high school and I remember the awkwardly tense environment this popular case created in my school among the student body. The film even dealt with that in a very straight forward manner that I very much appreciated. That's an easy thing for people to want to shy away from and it takes some courage to admit it and bring it to light.

Another thing this film portrays is how the police and district attorneys regarded these kids as guilty from the beginning before it even reached the newspapers. Then they became guilty in the eyes of the media, which then landed the final blow by creating the same guilty conclusion in the minds of much of the public. "The Crime of the Century" it was called. And in the end of it all, it turns out they were actually innocent. So I guess it was the crime of the century---just not one perpetrated by these kids, but instead the one perpetrated by the system.

The original case received so much media attention in 1989 that I think it was impossible to not hear something about it and this was the days before the internet and easy 24-hour access to news. Meanwhile, when a black woman was raped and thrown off of a roof in Brooklyn on the same day, it got very little attention. The racial implications in this Central Park jogger case were very disturbing and well elucidated in the film.

Taking 5 14-16 year old kids and coercing them into giving false statements of guilt just to close a case under pressure. It sadly also resulted in the actual guilty person to roam free and commit more rapes while these innocent kids were being convicted.

This is an incredibly sad tale and I had been wanting to see this film since it first came out in theaters. It brought back a lot of memories. It is tragic indeed and not something that should be forgotten, but unfortunately their exoneration got very little attention so most people from the time I'm sure have no idea of how this all turned out. I didn't even know until I heard of this film, which was 23 years later.

The film is an important film for that reason. It is the greatest public statement of the injustice that was carried out in a number of different ways by different criminal justice departments of our system. Legendary documentarian Ken Burns and his daughter Sara, as well as her husband, did an excellent job of bringing the social/political implications and ramifications to light with both heart and a commitment to factual rigor.

This film really should be watch by many more people, especially those of us from this time period. I conveniently saw it on netflix.
April 3, 2014
An important documentary about the great injustice done to five boys in the 80s.
April 1, 2014
Saddening, heartbreaking, but perhaps ultimately a triumph of honour and integrity. The Central Park Five faced the same brutal injustice as other famous wrongful convictions, like Dewey Bozella or Raymond Towler.

In addition, they dealt with the added persecution of a hysterical, lynch mob mentality across New York City (See - Donald Trump), which would surely break any normal person. To come out the other end, vindicated, yet ready to move on with their lives shows a depth of character we can all learn from. Nothing can give back what they lost, but compensation will go a long way to healing wounds.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2014
As an in depth look into the heinous behavior of the New York City police department at the time of the case of the Central Park Five, this film digs deep into the motivations for these horrible choices to coerce, and the repercussions for five teenaged boys. Any film about false imprisonment is a tear jerker and fills you with compassion and anger. The film is quick to point out that the prison system incarcerates those they see as doing wrong, but does not remember them, or console them, for their false convictions, instead letting them go and shrugging as if to say "Oops." Ken Burns is always insightful and happy to show the cultural and ethno-political leanings of every event he covers. In this way we get the feel for the time period, the racial tensions between the police and racial minorities, and the fervor and rioting that took place. Still, it was a huge case that took the nation by storm, but once they were exonerated, no one cared, and that's what really makes this documentary stand out. Not only does this tell a story, but shows that no one cared about the ending.
½ February 19, 2014
Great documentary from Ken Burns.
February 18, 2014
brilliant documentary
February 7, 2014
5 innocent children get the best years of their lives taken from them, and the prosecutors and detectives that put them away walk away scot-free.
February 7, 2014
Ken Burns does it again. He'll never amaze you with flash, but his documentaries are always worth a watch. This one is yet another case of bad police work and bad much so that the officials become the criminals.

I was just seven when the original crime happened. Years later, I ran across the victim's book. I tried to read it but it's a brutal crime and I lost interest. I think I still thought it was a group of black kids who did it. Now I know why.

Maybe these were no angels, maybe they were just rowdy kids in a very different New York City than the one we know today. But for police and prosecutors to do what they did...unacceptable. They not only cheated these five kids and their families, but also cheated the victim and all the subsequent victims of the real rapist. Fucking pathetic.

But to top it off, just like in other cases of wrongful conviction, there is no recourse. In this case, it seems particularly bad given the city will not settle with the five original defendants. And look at Fairstein's career. She has done more good than harm, but seriously, when you make a mistake, no matter the level, you better goddamn own up to it and try to fix it. What officials did in this case is just disgusting.
February 1, 2014
The main evidence against the five African American teenagers, in the rape and assault of a white female jogger in Central Park, was coerced video-taped confessions, and through master documentarian Ken Burns' searing film, they're back before the camera to retell the events the way they really happened.
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