"Kids for Cash" Movie Review: 3 1/2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
Once someone comes up with a snazzy, alliterative handle for a corruption story, that's it -- careers can be ended in a flash.
"Kids for Cash," an impressive, often enraging feature-length debut from director
If you're like me, you may enter into May's documentary without clear memories of the news story in question.
Here are some facts.
In the years leading up to 2009, in the northeastern
Then came revelations that grabbed and stoked the headlines.
Ciavarella and his fellow judge,
May's film follows the story of five of these victims, shoved into the court system, often without legal representation, flailing once they got out.
It's a heartbreaking saga and weirdly touching.
Ciavarella and Conahan don't act like stereotypical greedy antagonists on camera; there's a purity to the degree their actions were guided by simple greed and a belief in the larger goal of keeping so many bad apples out of the public eye. "Kids for Cash" follows the case histories of the five kids, while its present-day narrative keeps an eye on the judges awaiting their own legal fate, post-scandal.
Certain details momentarily trip up a fine film. The musical score by
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some thematic material and language). Running time: 1:42.
"Kids for Cash" Movie Trailer
'Kids for Cash' is a riveting look behind the notorious judicial scandal that rocked the nation. Beyond the millions paid and high stakes corruption, Kids For Cash exposes a shocking American secret about the judge hell-bent on keeping kids in line