"This is Why Documentaries Exist": The Atlantic On Ken Burns' New Film
In typical Burns style, the film documents a tumultuous time in human history. It details a time where racial prejudice and tension was near a boiling-point—causing judgments to be clouded and men to be falsely accused of a crime because of the color of their skin. As the film shows, despite wild inaccuracies in both the timeline and details of the event in question, the group of black and Latino men were still convicted of the crime. It was not until years later that the real culprit stepped forward and confessed his guilt.
Similar to other films in his repertoire—Baseball, Jazz, The Civil War and The Dust Bowl—The Central Park Five portrays a historical event in a manner both informative and moving. He provides viewers not only with the hard facts of the event, but also with a broader view of the historical and cultural factors that were at play at the time. His storytelling is masterful, and whether it is on stage or in his films, he is able to convey the most provocative and touching examples of humanity at both its finest—and its lowest.