14 September 2017 | paul-allaer
Good movie, with an even more important social cause
"Crown Heights" (2017 release; 103 min) brings the story of Colin Warner. "Based on a true story" we are informed as the movie opens, it is "April 10,1980" and we her a gun shot, as people as running away. We get to know Colin, an immigrant from Trinidad, Colin is a petty thief, easily getting into trouble as he hangs out in Crown Heights (Brooklyn).. That evening, he is picked up by the cops and at the precinct, he is urges to confess to a murder he didn't commit. So why are the cops after Colin then? Colin is denied jail, and before we know it, his trial starts... At this point we are less than 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is written and directed by Matt Ruskin, best known for his documentary "The Hip Hop Project", While "Crown Heights" is not a documentary, it might as well have been one. "Crown Heights" focuses on the grave injustice that befell Colin Warner, convicted of a crime he didn't commit when cops and the DA's office manipulate (if not worse) various witnesses and bystanders. Just when it seems it can't get any worse, it does. But the movie tries to make a bigger point and at that, it succeeds only in part. As the years roll on, we see various politicians (G.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, etc.) speak out harshly against crime (culminating with Clinton's "three strikes you're out" crime bill). You may agree or disagree with such an approach, but that of course has in se nothing to do with locking up an innocent man as a result of police and DA misconduct. Social injustice is a very important topic, but is "Crown Heights" actually a good movie? I'm happy to say that it is. Even though you get a sense midway through as to how it will all play out, it was riveting watching from start to end. The no-names cast is mostly excellent, in particular Keith Stanfield as Colin (he portrayed Snoop Dogg in "Straight Outta Compton" a few years back.
"Crown Heights" premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival to positive buzz. It finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Thursday early evening screening turned out to be a private screening, as I was literally the only person in the theater. No matter, "Crown Heights" is a good movie, with an even more important social cause, and I would readily suggest you seek this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.