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murder to mercy : Rethinking a Life Sentence

murder to mercy : Rethinking a Life Sentence netflix Movie Review

netflix Movie Review

“Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story“


Where to watch: Netflix

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In 2017, a series of tweets with the help of Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West became a back and forth campaign for the existence of a young woman imprisoned on the global hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown. The new Netflix documentary, Mercy Killing: The Cyntoia Brown Story, is an extended version of this story and a touching reflection on how the criminal justice reforms are taking place on a personal level.

murder to mercy : Rethinking a Life Sentence netflix Movie Review


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In 2004, at the age of 16, Brown turned himself in for photographing and killing a real estate agent, Johnny M. Allen, at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. Brown (who is married and goes by the name Cyntoia Brown-Long), under pressure from his pimp girlfriend, meets Allen outdoors at a fast food restaurant, where he begins offering sex. Brown testified that he then acted in self-defense when he thought Allen. forty-three was reaching for a gun. Tried as an adult he was eventually sentenced to life in prison.

In November 2017, amid the #MeToo movement, a tape of the case went viral on nearby Nashville TV News, attracting the attention of superstar activist and then-Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam. In every recent act of his office, Haslam has pardoned Brown and commuted his sentence.

Directed by Daniel H. Beerman, the film is a follow-up to the 2011 PBS documentary, which first drew attention to the case. This film is not a sensational dig of true crime in the form of what has emerged as its own streaming style.

Instead, it carefully examines how advances in clinical and cultural information about mental fitness, which includes congenital trauma, is a critical consideration that rarely extends to prior beliefs.

In Brown’s case, a merciful review allowed for a second threat. Adapted from Richard Linklater’s feature film “Boyhood”, the visual power of “Murder to Mercy” lies in Brown’s developmental observations of a troubled 16-year-old retro woman, confronted with judgments about her lifestyle, to a confident 31-12-month-old woman who released last year.

His minimalistic approach and subtle appreciation presents Brown’s own words and those of his adoptive and organic mother in the interview. It’s a sober, stylized memoir that humanizes America’s systemic task — and offers a narrative catharsis that can only be done at the mercy of actual existence.

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