A deeply affecting tale which is more relevant than ever !!
The ultimate aim of a movie is entertainment. But as an art form which can connect to its viewers easily through visuals, it holds certain responsibility towards society. When a movie speaks against injustice and becomes true reflection of a society, it in-turn becomes a triumph. The 2019 Netflix mini-series When they see us was one such experience! This is a real life story which happened in US a few decades back, but the issues it discuss, such as racism, suppression of certain communities, the authorities manipulating truth for their convenience with often minorities falling prey to the injustice, are ever-relevant and are transcending national boundaries.
The series is about the arrest and conviction of 5 young teenage boys for the assault and rape of a lady jogger in New York’s Central Park, in 1989. The boys were arrested because they were present in the park on the day when the lady was assaulted. The officials were without any evidences or clues to pin point someone, they interrogated these boys, coerced them into confessing to the attack, and closed the gaps in the conflicting evidences. We can only sympathize with these kids and sit in utter disbelief to the events that are to follow. The investigating team conveniently turns the case into a rape of white lady by 5 monstrous black kids and the media makes it a white vs black issue. The case thus got national attention as the boys and their parents along with their lawyers prepared for a legal battle against the city of New York amidst protests from the black community.
A collection of original tv footages of the media coverage during that time was blended into the narrative brilliantly which gives us the realistic sense of the whole events. In one of those clippings, the words of current US President Donald Trump advocating for the execution of the boys and his statements hinting white community suffering severely because of the wrong doings of the blacks speak volumes about the racial discrimination in a country which boasts of its democracy and freedom.
Co-written and directed by Ava Du Vernay, the whole series is treated in a very poignant manner so as to make the viewers feel the sufferings that the boys and their family had gone through. For that matter, it can be a very tough watch at times with emotions running very high. Each of the boys’ growth to adulthood, and their re-integration to society after serving their time are shown separately in a non-intertwining narrative.
The acting department excelled with all five boys giving their characters immense depth. All were so successful in showing the vulnerabilities of teenage and their helplessness so perfectly, with Jharrel Jerome playing both of Korey Wise’s young and adult ages with absolute perfection, winning him the Primetime Emmy for Best Actor.
When They See Us is a deeply affecting tale which is both relevant and captivating, surely one of the absolute best mini-series available in Netflix today. Simply a must watch !!