Crown Heights

New American Cinema | 2017 | 96 minutes

In 1980, Colin Warner was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. His friend Carl “KC” King did everything in his power to free Warner—up to and including amateur police work and becoming a legal courier to learn about the legal system. Warner and King’s story is fascinating and speaks volumes on race, the flaws of the American criminal justice system, the insidious ubiquity of coerced confessions, and the challenge of prosecuting murder cases without an abundance of evidence. As a dramatized version of these events, Crown Heights glosses over most of this. It's based on an excellent episode of This American Life dedicated to Warner’s case, which includes interviews that present both King and Warner as determined, idiosyncratic characters attempting to exercise autonomy and enact justice within a system stacked against them. Though Lakeith Stanfield and Nnamdi Asomugha put in strong performances as Warner and King, this complexity is lost in Crown Heights: Here Warner is merely a victim, King simply a savior.

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Film Credits
Director
Matt Ruskin
Cast
Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom