Making its way through a variety of festivals including Cannes, Toronto, London and Stockholm next month, the buzz around the Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns documentary “The Central Park Five” has been building, and generating a lot of discussion. Tackling one of the most publicized crimes of the ’80s in New York City, an incident which also caught the nation’s attention, this new film reveals a haunting truth about a quest for justice gone very wrong.
The title refers to the five young Black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of brutally sexually assaulting a woman who had been jogging in Central Park. The crime stirred up a media frenzy, and with the city already trying desperately to put a bottleneck on crime, this case in particular was an opportunity to show NYC’s finest doing their job. But as the film reveals, no DNA evidence could link the boys to the woman, yet a mob mentality and demands for a speedy resolution to the case saw a guilty conviction laid on the boys.
With strong reviews, the name of Ken Burns behind it, and a riveting tale about the legal system failing when it should have worked, “Central Park Five” is generating talk of an Oscar. Hitting theaters in limited release on November 23rd followed by a VOD bow on December 7th, this is one you won’t want to count out. [The Film Stage]