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Film Review: American Legal System is Put on Trial in ‘Crown Heights’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – There is no justice for the poor. That should be carved in stone on courthouses beside all the platitudes of American “equality” and “law.” In an eye-opening narrative film based on a true story, “Crown Heights” explores just how an impoverished individual can be found guilty and imprisoned unjustly for years.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Colin Warner, the prisoner of the film, is also an immigrant and a person of color, but that doesn’t play into his prosecution as much as simply being railroaded into a guilty verdict. The story is an example of the cracks in the American legal system… law enforcement who just desire to clear the dockets and call it a win, overworked public defenders, prosecuted victims who don’t understand the system and remote politicians who “promise” punishment, making new laws that just make the system more overloaded. Of the approximately 2.5 million incarcerated persons in the U.S., estimates are there are 150,000 of them who are innocent, but locked up because the system needed to move on. “Crown Heights” is a compelling example of that blatant unfairness.

Colin Warner (LaKeith Stanfield) is a petty car thief from Trinidad who is trying to go straight by learning auto mechanics. While walking on his Brooklyn streets in 1980, he is arrested without warning. He is charged with the murder of a teenager on the streets, even as he has no connection to the crime. In a complex and badly handled case, he is found guilty, and sentenced to the maximum penalty of life in prison.

His best friend, Carl ‘KC’ King (Nnamdi Asomugha) is convinced that his fellow traveler has been railroaded, and begins a process of getting him a new trial. However, the State of New York will not admit that the trial was flawed, which means finding new evidence with the help of a new attorney, William Robedee (Bill Camp). Meanwhile, 21 years tick by for Colin, a victim of the harsh flaws in the American legal system.

“Crown Heights” opens in select theaters nationwide, including Chicago on September 1st. See local listings and show times. Featuring LaKeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Marsha Stephanie Blake and Bill Camp. Written and directed by Matt Ruskin. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Crown Heights”

Crown1
LaKeith Stanfield is Prisoner Colin Warner in ‘Crown Heights’
Photo credit: Amazon Studios

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Crown Heights”

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