8/10 From Showtime, “Attica” tells the true story of the 1971 prison riot at the Attica Correctional Facility, one of the biggest prison riots in US history. Nominated for Best Documentary, “Attica” is a stunning and horrific look at a moment in time where a mostly peaceful situation took a dark turn and innocent lives were lost because of it. What makes “Attica” a great documentary is that it covers the tough topics of race, power dynamics, etc. without forcing narratives or pushing agendas down the viewer’s throat. “Summer of Soul” made the mistake of forcing far left political narratives into an otherwise terrific film but “Attica” is able to avoid that mistake. We see footage from those several bleak September days, B roll footage of Attica, meaningful interviews with former inmates as well as children of men who were slain at the prison and more. The documentary is told chronologically and rather straight forward, as the most shocking and heart breaking moments are shown at the end of the film. Since this incident happened over a decade before I was born, I was unaware of the details of what took place and the film is able to be educational while maintaining a fair and balanced tone. While the criminals locked up were largely terrible people who committed heinous acts, the prison guards, top politicians and other seemingly “innocent” men were just as evil, if not more so, as they abused their power “legally” and made a bad situation much worse. The film begins hopeful with negotiations between prisoners and outsiders but you will feel a sense of dread, knowing that there is no way a story like this has a happy ending, especially considering the time period. The editing is well done, even if some of the footage hasn’t held up well over time due to natural decaying film. My biggest complaint was that the second act does drag in the middle and slow the film down. While the beginning was interesting and fills you in on the situation and the ending was disturbing and explosive, the middle of the film lacks the excitement that the rest of the film carries. While co-directors Stanley Nelson Jr. and Traci A. Curry could have easily injected a ton of social justice warrior/critical race theory messaging into the film, they wisely sit back and let the story unfold so the facts can speak for themselves. While the film may be hard to watch for some people and there are definitely emotional moments, “Attica” deserves to be seen and is better than most of its competition for Best Documentary.

#MusicByQuietRiot / #PrisonTake / #CrawlInCellBlock99 / #FelonHardTimes / #TheStrongestYard / #NelsonLockafellerUp

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