Let’s face it, any kind of list is bound to start arguments, and I’m sure you must have a lot more movies to counter this list, but here’s five movies about wrongful convictions and prominent themes of social injustice that you should definitely add to your watch list. With theaters opening back up, there is once again a craze for heading out on the weekend and watching the new release; but there’s nothing better than turning the lights off in your room, making some popcorn, and enjoying whatever movie you like on a streaming platform. So, if you have nothing to watch, then here’s a list for you to indulge in.
Brian Banks (2018)
Based on a true story and named after its protagonist, Brian Banks follows the story of a famous American football player who was falsely accused of rape. This plot of the movie stays loyal to the original story and does it justice almost entirely. Involving themes of racism and flaws in the justice system the movie portrays Banks’ story in a different light. The reason movies like this one are so important is because they provide the audience with an unbiased and independent perspective, as opposed to the amount of stories presented by the media during the trial and even rumors that were spread all over the internet. So if you’re into documentary style dramas, this movie is right up your alley. Available on Netflix.
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (2022)
Recently released, the plot of this movie narrates the story of Nambi Narayanan, former scientist and aerospace engineer of ISRO, and how he was falsely accused of espionage and arrested in 1994. He was later exonerated, but the movie still highlights aspects of religious conflict and also patriotism. Respecting the timeline of events and focusing on the details of the technical aspects of the field as well, the movie is beautifully scripted and produced. The best thing about this film is that it sidetracks the stereotypical dramatic aspect of Bollywood and focuses solely on narrating a story. A niche film, catering to the people who enjoy science and also a little bit of drama. Available on Amazon Prime Video.
Section 375 (2019)
A partially fictitious story slightly inspired by real life, this movie is truly a trend setter for Bollywood movies. It is no news that the Indian audience heavily enjoys the standard courtroom drama that has been experimented with numerous times; but this film stands out because of its story. It revolves around a case between a famous filmmaker and a junior costume designer, who accuses the former of rape. Even though this plot isn’t necessarily new to Bollywood, the intrigue forms when certain twists and turns in the story don’t allow the audience to come to a simple conclusion. It is narrated in a way that the audience questions the genuinity of both sides, so that the film is concluded with the viewers leaving deep in thought; about today’s society and its morals. Available on Amazon Prime Video.
When They See Us (2019)
A dramatized miniseries set in 1989, revolving around the story of five boys of color who were accused of attacking a white woman in Central Park. Yet again based on a true story, these men are now in their mid-forties and have since been exonerated. The director of this film focuses on raising a question to humanity, about what exactly defines a criminal, and what, or rather, who one sees when they see a person of color. Available on Netflix.
Just Mercy (2020)
A classic docu-drama that sticks very close to the actual facts of the case in real life, considering how bizarre and full of drama the facts are. With a great cast and beautiful execution, the film tackles issues about racism and the legal and political problems of the system. Narrating the story of a Harvard graduate, Bryan Stevenson, the film is about justice and injustice, and how intangible to reality they really are. Stevenson wishes to defend those who were wrongfully condemned or cannot afford good representation, and in the process learns a lot about the law and the justice system of the country.
While watching classic rom-coms or traditional dramas give us a sense of comfort and ease, it’s important to watch serious, hard-hitting films that raise questions about the existing systems in place. These movies serve a purpose and contribute majorly to the reconstruction of humanity and morality as we know it.