Watch 13th

  • TV-MA
  • 2016
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 8.2  (37,515)
  • 81

The movie 13th, directed by Ava DuVernay, is a powerful indictment of the United States criminal justice system and the racist policies that have resulted in mass incarceration of black men. The title of the film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime.

The documentary begins with a provocative assertion: that slavery has not been abolished in the United States, but has simply been reformed into the modern-day prison system. From here, the film traces the history of race-based oppression in America, from the abolition of slavery to the prison industrial complex of the present day.

Viewers are taken on a journey through the Civil Rights Movement, the Nixon Administration's "War on Drugs," and the tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s and 1990s. The film argues that these policies, which instituted mandatory minimums and three strikes laws, were not only ineffective at reducing crime, but also amounted to a war on black communities.

The film is a powerful indictment of the systemic racism that underlies America's criminal justice system. DuVernay uses archival footage, expert commentary, and a compelling narrative to demonstrate how the system is rigged against black men. She shows how the use of mandatory minimums and three strikes laws have led to an explosion in the number of black men behind bars, and how the prison industrial complex has become a lucrative business.

Throughout the film, DuVernay makes a compelling case that the criminal justice system is fundamentally unfair. Black men are more likely to be stopped, searched, and arrested than white men, even when they have not committed a crime. They are more likely to be sentenced to longer prison terms for the same crime, and more likely to be subjected to harsher treatment once in prison.

The film also explores the intersection of race and poverty, and how the two are inextricably linked. DuVernay shows us how poor black communities are often the targets of the police, and how the lack of economic opportunities in these communities makes it difficult for them to escape the cycle of poverty and crime.

One of the most powerful aspects of 13th is how it exposes the for-profit nature of the prison industrial complex. The film shows how private corporations have turned mass incarceration into a multi-billion dollar industry, with incentives to keep prisons full and profits high. We see how companies like the Corrections Corporation of America lobby politicians for tougher sentencing laws and build new prisons to increase profits.

Throughout the film, we hear from a range of experts and activists, including Angela Davis, Bryan Stevenson, and Van Jones. These voices lend credibility to the film's argument, and their personal stories add an emotional weight to the film.

Despite its somber subject matter, 13th is a visually stunning film. DuVernay uses slow-motion footage, striking graphics, and creative camera angles to keep the viewer engaged. The film's score, composed by Jason Moran, is haunting and atmospheric, amplifying the film's emotional resonance.

In conclusion, 13th is a must-watch documentary for anyone interested in social justice and the fight against systemic racism. The film is a groundbreaking work that exposes the harsh realities of America's criminal justice system and the institutionalized racism that lies at its core. It is both a call to action and a celebration of the resilience of the black community.

13th is a 2016 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.2 and a MetaScore of 81.

Where to Watch 13th
13th is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Netflix. Some platforms allow you to rent 13th for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (37,515)
  • Metascore