Oscar 2019: Best Documentaries–Marilyn Ness’ Charm City (Violence in Baltimore)

Marilyn Ness’s timely docu, Charm City, has just been selected as one of the semi-finalists of the Best Documentary Feature Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Charm City offers an intriguing look at violent crime and the very possibility of solutions in one big American city, Baltimore.

The film is dedicated to the memory of the more than 1,000 people who were killed in Baltimore during the process of filmmaking.

The tale begin in July 2015, just months after the death of Freddie Gray, centering on the city’s residents, like Clayton Guyton, or a former correctional officer who runs an East Baltimore community center.

The director also examines officials and officers like Monique Brown, a police woman, who recalls the reaction to her joining the force; some friends wouldn’t talk to her. A councilman, Brandon M. Scott, notes that Baltimore should change its strategies and focus more on education.

It’s director Ness’ attention to detail and individuals that makes Charm City powerful and relevant. In one scene, an officer gets into a house that’s become a drug center. In another, we meet Dante Barksdale, an outreach coordinator whose relative served as inspiration for HBO’s popular series, The Wire.

Needless to say, what’s the docu depicts and analyzes about violence in Baltimore could be applied to any large American city.

Running time: 108 Minutes.