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13th-213th (2016)

Directed by Ava DuVernay

Written by Spencer Averick, Ava DuVernay

Featuring: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker

A look at the history of the prison system within the United States and the racial inequality that has plagued it.

13th-5This documentary was written by Spencer Averick (Middle of Nowhere) and Ava DuVernay (Selma). DuVernay also served as director for the project. The film features a number of people, Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, and Cory Booker.

13th-4This is an interesting documentary that approaches the question of justice from a historical perspective first. The early moments of the film highlight some of the prejudices built into the justice system. The interviews and footage help to accentuate the points being made. Unfortunately, the focus of the documentary strays as it goes. The later part of the film features painfully biased and unfounded statements. Additionally, misappropriation of audio clips creates controversy where there might not be any. This really undercuts the strength of the original argument, leaving little to be had from seeing this through.

If you’re looking for social commentary, this is one you might find interesting. If you’re looking for facts and honesty, this might not be the right one for you. The logic, facts, and honest speech are co-mingled with rhetoric that really leaves this feeling unbalanced in the end. Surprisingly, this one was honored with an Oscar nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Apparently I don’t share the same views on this one as the voters did. I give this one 2 out of 5 stars.

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 100 Minutes


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