February 24, 2024

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Watson Reviews: Crime + Punishment (Spoiler Free)

A film still from <i>Crime + Punishment</i> by Stephen Maing, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

The great thing about the rise of streaming service is the easy access to documentaries for when I am not feeling up to a film.

Hulu is playing in the space, so take THAT Netflix!


The documentary follows cops and ex-cops are forced to arrest people to generate revenue; with little regard for the innocent people who’s lives are impacted.

Making things worse, the problem is much more often impacting blacks and Latinos.


  • It is an important subject. The idea of arresting or issuing a summons for frivolous actions, predominantly to minorities, is a blight on our criminal justice system. The book The Divide by Matt Taibbi covered it very well and it needs to get more attention. The practice destroys lives.
  • The documentary style was weak. Sadly, this doc didn’t do the subject justice. The filmmakers were not sophisticated or insightful with their style or interviews.
  • The P.I. Was not a compelling narrative. This was the weakest element. The “character” that directors use to tell their story is critical. This guy was very over the top and cheesy.

    If this is Hulu’s level of quality, they have a long way to go before they get close to Netflix’s level.

    This documentary covers an important topic, but to be good it requires quality filmmaking. That is not present here.

    Overall, I give Crime + Punishment a score of 6Cop Outs out of 10.