By Mark Jenkins
Its greatest advantage over the book is that this is a story well-documented in moving pictures. In addition to recent interviews with the five, the filmmakers deftly marshal news footage, clips from the supposed confessions, and trenchant analysis.
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Boston Globe

By Wesley Morris
If the second hour or so isn't as strong as the first, it's because the filmmaking fails to rise to the injustice that's befallen its subjects since their exoneration. It can't, really.
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Chicago Tribune

By Michael Phillips
An unusually good documentary about an outlandish miscarriage of justice.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
The case transfixed a racially polarized New York City. The teens were labeled as a "wolf pack" by the news media, led by the New York tabloids.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
This patient, righteous documentary by Ken Burns, David McMahon, and Sarah Burns recounts the story of justice undone (a serial rapist confessed) with extensive interviews, a thorough use of archival footage, and a less-than felicitous use of ominous-rumble music that unnecessarily insists, Isn't this an outrage?
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Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
It's a different city today, in a country that sees its racial and social divides with more clarity than it did back then. But the most troubling question the film raises is how clearly we may see even now.
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The Hollywood Reporter

A meticulously reported chronicle of a case that shook New York in 1989 and remains a mark of shame on the city ten years after the convictions were vacated, the film incisively documents a travesty of justice that echoes the infamous Scottsboro Boys railroading of the 1930s.
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
Worth seeing, both for the ways it's timeless and for the ways it encapsulates an era.
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Slant Magazine

By Joseph Jon Lanthier
Though relentlessly and admirably logical, the movie constantly glosses over the buried human element.
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New York Post

By Lou Lumenick
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.
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79 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.