Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. In the ten documentaries listed here, that is certainly true. These tales of crime, murder, and cannibalism are not for the faint of heart or the weary skeptic, as viewers are taken on a dark journey through crime and corruption.
A good documentary draws the viewer in, peeling back layers of a story, until the truth is revealed. Some have such an impact that the viewer may even look at the world a completely different way. The following are all true stories and highly recommended viewing.
The following article contains spoilers.
10. The Central Park Five (2012)
Ken Burns’ documentary film, The Central Park 5 (2012), looks at the story of five young teenagers, all African-American and Latino, who were wrongly convicted of the physical and sexual assault of Trisha Meili in New York Central Park, on April 19, 1989. The case gained nationwide attention, and split opinion across America. Many considered the boys’ arrest another example of racial profiling. The documentary considers this and takes the viewer on an emotional journey from wrongful conviction to eventual release.
The boys, aged between 14 and 16, were in the park at the time of Trisha’s assault. Despite a lack of evidence, the police arrested the boys and allegedly coerced them into a confession. They were convicted of the crime and were initially sentenced to a youth correctional facility. The boys served 6 and 13 years between them. In 2002, they were exonerated for the crime when convicted serial rapist, Matias Reyes, confessed to the vicious sexual assault of Trisha Meili.
On release from prison, the ‘Central Park Five’ were financially compensated by the city of New York for their wrongful conviction. Clips from this documentary were shown in the civic trial where the men were legally found innocent of the crime.