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The 25 Best Movies of 2012

13. The Central Park Five

Directors: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon

It's quite difficult to not want to play N.W.A.'s "Fuck the Police" after watching The Central Park Five, an amazingly constructed and emotionally infuriating look at how five black and Latino teens were suckered by manipulative police officers into confessing to the brutal rape of a white woman in New York's Central Park back in 1989.

Through each of the now-adult ex-cons own words, documentarians Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon provide a stunning look at the dangerous ways in which the media and our justice systems treated minorities decades ago, and, without overtly spelling the point out, how, in many ways, things haven't changed all that much.

If The Central Park Five was just an angry rant against "the Man," it'd most likely be a sledgehammer-subtle exercise in preaching to the choir. But the gripping documentary hits such deep personal chords because its subjects—five guys who have every right to furious at everyone—are so level-headed and willing to reflect on their traumatic pasts with mature, insightful minds.

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