In the Land of the Free… (Empire Review)

LandOfFreeSquareIn this cookie-cutter documentary from Vadim Jean, Samuel L Jackson narrates the story of three prisoners, known as the ‘Angola 3’, who between them have spent almost 100 years in solitary confinement in America’s most notorious prison. The cause may be worthy, but Jean’s focus is blurred: it’s unclear whether he wants to question their original convictions (which, to be fair, have survived multiple appeals), free them on compassionate grounds, or argue that their sentence constitutes what the Bill of Rights calls “cruel and unusual punishment.” Whatever the film’s intentions, one can’t escape the feeling that the issues have been fed into a piece of documentary-making software, and played out with precisely the footage, font, music and tut-tut tone you’d expect.

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