DOCUMENTARY ROUND UP: 11/16

Inspired, as always, by @TVAddict
  1. Without Charity (2013) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    The story of the execution style murder of three construction workers in small town Indiana. The investigation leads to four suspects and an 18-year-old girl some say was the ringleader. Charity Payne isn't the most sympathetic character. Annoyingly, the documentary glosses over how police initially ID'd the four suspects, which really bugged me. I even went down a Google rabbit hole and came up empty-handed. Interesting questions raise about culpability and remorse.
  2. Cluster (2009)⭐️
    Frustratingly sloppy doc about the Welsh town of Bridgend, where 24 young people committed suicide over a two-year period, all but one of them by hanging. Poor production values render it nearly unwatchable, between the handheld mikes, music tracks so loud they drown out the dialogue, and truly uninspired narration. Worst of all, it lacks a grounding narrative structure. Which is a shame, because it's a potentially fascinating story.
  3. Who Took Johnny (2014)⭐️⭐️⭐️
    There is no mystery solved in the case of who kidnapped Johnny Gosch, one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton. But this is a fascinating look at his unusual mother, the odd reluctance of the Des Moines police department, and the intersection of hope, truth and delusion.
  4. 13th (2016)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    It's not that any of this is new information. Its that Ava Duvernay has constructed a film through the narratives of both history and civil rights experts — and those who lived through it. Should be mandatory viewing.
  5. The Perfect Victim (2012) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    When I lived in St. Louis, I volunteered for a domestic abuse crisis line. So I felt a little bit of a connection to this film, which centers around three women in Missouri State Prison, sentenced to life for killing their abusers — and those seeking clemency on their behalf. Again, no brand new territory mined here, but I will never tire of these women's stories.