Crown Heights (Matt Ruskin, 2017)

Adapted, by writer-director Matt Ruskin from an episode of public radio show This American Life, Crown Heights acts as both biopic of one man wrongfully incarcerated for over 20 years and a broader examination of the American justice system and its bias towards imprisoning people of colour. The latter most notably comes about through the insertion of stock footage contextualising the US government’s crime policy developments during the course of the decades the film covers – we see clips of Ronald Reagan declaring that “crime today is an American epidemic”, Bill Clinton signing his 1994 Crime Bill into law, and New York Governor George Pataki delivering an inaugural address that proposed abolishing parole for felons with a history of violence…

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