Movie Details

Noted filmmaker Euzhan Palcy, who made a name for herself by directing a series of socially minded films about racism and oppression -- including Sugar Cane Alley and A Dry White Season -- continues in the same vein with this gritty courtroom drama about the bloodshed and the coverup of the Attica prison uprising of 1971. Protesting the dreadful conditions at the state penitentiary, 1200 inmates -- mostly African-American -- took control of Prison Yard D. After a half a week negotiating with the prisoners, the police burst into the jail with guns ablaze. Reportedly 2,200 rounds were fired, 39 people killed, and 80 wounded. Fearing an investigation, the State Department indicted a number of prisoners for murder, including Shango (Morris Chestnut), a former law student and activist against the prison administration. Crack lawyer Ernie Goodman (Alan Alda) agrees to defend him, but before he can keep him from the gallows he has to allay Shango's distrust. Meanwhile, civil liberties activist Linda Borus (Rose McGowan) uncovers the truth and the elaborate layers of deceit that the state erected. This film was first screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi