'The Central Park Five' examines a shocking crime — and its troubling outcome
None of the NYC police or prosecutors involved in the case are interviewed in The Central Park Five. Two reasons: an ongoing civil rights lawsuit filed by the wrongfully convicted men (which now involves the filmmakers — in September, they were subpoenaed for footage of the accused discussing their confessions); and really, who wants to go on record admitting that they failed, and ruined multiple lives as a result? Unlike the WM3, the Central Park Five's "innocence never got the attention that their guilt did," historian Craig Steven Wilder points out. Academy Award nomination or not, The Central Park Five may help change that.
Like the injustice doc, another late 2012 trend is the presidential biopic. Weeks after the release of Lincoln, Hyde Park on Hudson arrives with a lighthearted (-ish) take on Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1939 meeting with King George VI (of stuttering fame) and Queen Elizabeth at FDR's rural New York estate. Casting Bill Murray as FDR is Hyde Park's main attraction, though Olivia Williams makes for a surprisingly effective Eleanor.
But the thrust of the film concerns FDR's relationship with his cousin, Daisy — played by Laura Linney, who's relegated to a series of dowdy outfits, pouting reaction shots, and far too many voice-overs. The affair has zero heat, and the film is disappointingly shallow — how many times can one be urged to giggle at someone saying "Hot dogs!" in an English accent? — not to mention a waste of a perfectly fine Bill Murray performance. As that sideburned Democrat bellows in Lincoln, "Howwww dare you!" *
THE CENTRAL PARK 5 opens Fri/14 in the Bay Area; HYDE PARK ON HUDSON opens Fri/14 in San Francisco.