The Killing Yard


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Current Rating 9.38/10 | 8 Votes

The Killing Yard details the true events surrounding the death of 39 inmates and 10 prison guards at Attica Prison in 1973. The film is set three years after the infamous Attica riot, and the slaughter that followed in Yard “D”, after the maltreated prisoners rose up against the guards and held hostages while demanding a face-to-face meeting with Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The State Troopers were called to quell the disturbance, and did so by manning the prison walls surrounding Attica, and opening fire into Yard “D”. After the mess was cleaned up, officials released a statement to the media asserting that the inmates killed all ten prison guards by brutally slitting their throats.

Defense Attorney Ernie Goodman (Alan Alda; White Mile, Murder At 1600) and civil rights activist Linda Borus (Rose McGowan; Monkeybone, Kiss And Tell) are working to prove the innocence of Shango (Morris Chestnut; Out All Night, G.I. Jane), who is charged with Felony Murder, Unlawful Imprisonment, and Aiding and Abetting for his actions in the riot. In their first meeting as lawyer and client, Shango is hostile and suspicious of Goodman’s efforts to prove him not guilty, but soon Goodman convinces Shango that he will give him the best defense possible, and the two develop a bond that extends beyond the court room.

Goodman’s efforts are further strained when he begins to suffer from TGA (Trans-global Amnesia) and fainting spells, which his physician warns can be the precursor to a stroke that could take Goodman’s life. Determined to exonerate his client, Goodman ignores the advice of his doctor and returns to the courtroom for a final battle for Shango’s freedom. Morris Chestnut delivers a powerful and moving speech in the defense closing arguments to the jury that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who is a fan of court procedural movies.

The scenes of the carnage in “D” Yard are told flash-back style, in sharply stark black and white footage, making these scenes somehow more realistic. I am not a huge fan of Alan Alda, but I thought he did a great job in this movie, as did Morris Chestnut in his role. The Killing Yards tells an important story, and does it in a way that is captivating and tense. This one is headed for my movie library for sure.


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