Part 1 – The System
Part 2 – The Island
Part 3 – The Bing
Part 4 – The Witness
Part 5 – Injustice For All
Part 6 – The After Life
Following on from the success of Making A Murderer several years earlier, The Kalief Browder story is a shocking, heart wrenching tragedy depicting the corruption and failure of the American Justice System. Convicted with no evidence and an unreliable witness, this 6 part documentary shows just how broken the system is. Although the 6 episodes do recycle quite a few shots and there’s a relentless amount of quick edits, the violence and graphic content of what Kalief had to endure in prison and beyond is every bit as powerful regardless of how many times its shown. With a methodical pace and a cynical view from the authorities ultimately responsible for Kalief’s death, TIME is a thought provocative, emotionally charged documentary well worth watching.
Starting with a brief overview of the way police in The Bronx operate and Kalief’s family history, the 6 episodes chronicle the life of Kalief who defiantly stood up against a corrupt system and consequently suffered for it. From solitary confinement to multiple beatings and suicide attempts, TIME asks bigger questions around the validity of the justice system and whether serious reform needs to happen. Of course, with this argument still raging in the States, the last episode does leave this hanging in the balance but the content that’s here is easily digestible and hard-hitting from the start.
There’s a variety of different techniques used in this documentary too and whether it be face to face interviews, archival footage of both CCTV in the prison and official documents, there’s a lot of evidence backing up the claims of Kalief’s mistreatment. Ordinarily without an objective perspective the validity of these claims could be brought into scrutiny but the sheer amount of video and paper evidence is enough to solidify Kalief’s claim. There’s a variety of different people interviewed too and whether it be judges, executive producer Jay-Z, Kalief’s family or even Kalief himself, there’s a good mixture of people used to paint a picture of what this tragic young man had to endure.
Ultimately TIME feels as significant as Making A Murderer, with the recent Black Lives Matter movement and multiple scrutinous questions toward current President Trump and the current establishment, there really isn’t a better time for this story to be told. With barely any prior knowledge to this incident before watching, The Kalief Browder story is an informative and emotionally charged 6 part documentary that does a great job of informing about the life of this wrongly convicted 16-year-old. With over 200 days in solitary confinement and 3 years in prison, this documentary is an eye-opening series that demands your attention from the opening shot to when the final credits roll.
Verdict - 8.5/10