Crime / Documentary / History / News

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 8.3 10 32339

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 15, 2021 at 11:57 PM



John Oliver as Self
Nancy Reagan as Self
Donald Trump as Self
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
919.11 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S counting...
1.85 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by demented_peruvian 7 / 10

Interesting points and questions, but incomplete

It appears that all reviews of this documentary are in turn reviewed by where people stand politically. I'll side-step that by analyzing this as a film lover who is multi-ethnic and has studied criminology and has worked for many years in the behavioral health system, including rehabilitation and diversion of people entering the judicial system, of all races and social classes. And so it goes...

"13th" or "The 13th" does well in cinematic sense with an interesting photography of the subjects it interviews, and very effective editing. Its juxtapositions of past and present work well for film purposes, although some may object to the sociopolitical comparisons. What was ineffective and annoying was the use of sudden words quite often going into the screen, including the occasional song lyric, not all of which felt like it matched. It often felt like it was there to pad time, which is odd given the wide range of subjects that were interviewed who likely had more to say. That stole from the experience for me, akin to complaints that I've read others make of other documentaries that have done this, e.g. "Nico Icon". As a whole, the narrative starts off potent but loses some traction about 2/3rds through, similar to how I felt about DuVernay's "Selma".

From the criminal justice and political aspect, "13th" does best when it sticks to its thesis: that politicians created a system of mass incarceration for dubious reasons, which are rooted in racism and intentional disenfranchisement, and which is possibly influenced by businesses that make a profit from running prisons and using prisoners as a cheap or free workforce. Yes, it is a long run-on sentence, but that's the thesis. It supports itself well when analyzing politics, and the intentional and unintentional consequences. It alternates between stating one side of a debate as fact (e.g. whether Woodrow Wilson endorsed "Birth of a Nation") and having people who represent both sides of the debate. Regardless, it achieves its effect of a plausible theory, while eliciting horror, anger, and disgust. It is less well supported when exploring the link of current companies that stand to gain from imprisonment. They clearly document that they lobby to expand their business opportunities, including some highly questionable attempts and an inappropriate role in writing laws, but it's less clear that they are a driving force behind the incarcerations. It doesn't help when they use some gross generalizations, e.g. that Aramark sells rotten food. I've seen Aramark serve their generic, fattening cafeteria food to dozens of institutions, and it is never rotten, as in those two awful instances. However, DuVernay does raise an effective alert of a potential threat, that at the very least leaves us questioning the role of commercialization/privatization of the criminal justice system.

She is less successful when she goes off course into tying in Black Lives Matter; it didn't really fit the main narrative, but more of a sub-narrative of law and order being altered by racism. This deserves a larger, longer, more careful focus, as it brings in much debated situations that are too recent, some brought in too briefly. "OJ: Made in America" addresses this sub-topic better, using a greater length.

But as much as DuVernay puts into the film to explore how incarcerations increased, she misses many factors. Racism, explosion in population in the post-war era, political machinations, and introduction of drugs and drug laws are all mentioned. She somehow leaves out the increase in availability in firearms, the development of gangs (ironic, as the Bloods and the Mara Salvatrucha started in US prisons), and a sharp increase in a pro-crime, narcissistic sub-cultures. This is not limited to one racial/ethnic group or socioeconomic group, nor is it recent. But 90s-on gangsta culture has driven in hard a message that life is short; you need to blow massive amounts of money in narcissistic displays of it; that decent jobs will not get you there, that stealing, dealing, grifting and boosting are the only ways; that going to prison is good and inevitable; and that the slightest challenge to your being the center of the universe should be responded to with violence. This culture, when it is bought into by anyone of any group, is the hardest thing to deal with when trying to rehabilitate someone, second only to an abusive family. And I've seen it with white kids from wealthy families, 2nd generation Latinos with hardworking parents with different values and culture, African-American kids with extremely hardworking parents who reject this message, and adults who should know much better. And it is now being exported overseas, with the same result of increased incarceration and police violence. Why skip this? Why not question it as well? DuVernay's thesis suggests that almost everyone in the criminal justice system are only there because of petty drug charges, but she fails to test the null hypothesis. While this is true of a segment of prisoners, it does not apply to all. I bring it up because more than half of felons and people otherwise with repeat criminal justice involvement that I have encountered (of all races) have charges for multiple crimes; it is not just simple possession, or dealing small amounts of lesser drugs, but additional crimes such as those around theft, sudden acts of aggression, forgery, or driving while intoxicated. Are African Americans more exposed to drug crime in general, due to the same factors she lists? And what are the alternatives to incarceration? DuVernay also regrettably skips probing rehabilitation and probation, other than to briefly question the latter as over-done and possibly driven by profit.

In sum, good for discussion of political issues, but not comprehensive in criminology issues.

Reviewed by monhiggins 10 / 10

Response to comment about false statistics

I read a review for this doc that spoke about the untrustworthiness of the documentarian due to statistics that were listed in the doc that did not match that of the department of justice. It took my about 5 minutes to clear up the differing statistics. The commenter mentioned that the film lists a 2.4M prison population as of 2014, while the DOJ's report released through the BJS states that the prison population in 2014 was 1.5M.

The glaring difference between the two figures is very easily explained through the requirements necessary to be included by the BJS study. Anyone who is in a county holding facility for a period less than a year, or anyone being held at an immigration detention center, civil commitment, or an Indian Country facility are not included in the figures stated by the BJS. The Prison Policy Initiative study states that 2.4M people were detained and incarcerated for a period longer than 6 months in 2014 with no other limiting factors applied to their study.

Checking facts is good, but is worthless if you don't check them well by corroborating multiple sources and reviewing the requirements and limiting factors applied to the statistical studies you are comparing. If you are only checking one source, there is no comparison happening, and you are ultimately just accepting the first response you came across without understanding what is included or not included in that particular study. That is called googling, not fact or source checking.

Reviewed by airborne_trooper 10 / 10

Important documentary

This documentary shines a very bright light on two fundamental issues going on in our country. The power of money and it's influence on profitable incarceration and ultimately perpetual slavery. I think it did a fabulous job of being virtually opinion free and making a point to stay focused on facts. That said, I think you have to be open to the information. By that, whether you lean right or left, it's best to digest this documentary with an open mind free of your own political thoughts and opinions.

It's foundation is about slavery and how it plays a role in modern events. It suggests that slavery never went away, it merely reinvented itself to "keep up with the times", always having financial gain being the catalyst for it's continued existence. It really shines when it presents it's case on how mass incarceration is today's slavery. The direct correlation between labor based slavery of yesteryear and labor based incarceration of today is frightening in regards to similarity. You can deny it if you choose to, but if you continue to do so after seeing this presentation, then it's simply because you deny fact.

When Colin Kaepernick protested the flag, though I'm a black man, I was offended by his stance. After watching this documentary however, I look at his point of view with a different lens. I don't entirely agree with his approach, but I have to admit that oppression in this country is still very alive and well. I think too many people look at oppression in traditional views like slavery and the holocaust. But in my opinion, you have to appreciate oppression as the complexity that it is, in order to acknowledge it's existence. Again this documentary does an excellent job of making that case. I won't delve too deep into why, I would just simply recommend watching it.

Word of caution however. This documentary doesn't pull it's punches. It's very dark, very disconcerting regarding politics and if it hits you right, it will make you angry and sad all at once. My two children stayed in the forefront of my mind while watching this, and my heart bled for them throughout, seeing what kind of world that awaits them. I tried to be optimistic about light being brought to this issue in such a well put together way, but I believe that we as a country, still have a ways to go, seeing that someone like Trump could get so close to being President.

Overall, this documentary is very important and should be seen by everyone able. Whether you lean right or left, you cannot deny some of the dirty deals made by politicians to keep their pockets lined via profitable incarceration. Real change needs to happen without question, but this documentary drives home the point that as long as "the almighty dollar" rules, don't expect much change anytime soon.

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