Ken Rudolph’s review published on Letterboxd :
The 13th was one of the post-Civil War amendment to the U. S. Constitution. This one banned slavery with one exception...criminals were still subject to involuntary servitude. This politically charged documentary posits that this constitutional out gave the majority culture the ability to continue to practice slavery for the ensuing 150 years...culminating in a present day when 2.3 million people (heavily disproportionately blacks and browns) are incarcerated in work-house prisons, and millions of others are in essence deprived of their citizenship and ability to make a future living by the disqualifying question on most employment applications: "have you ever been convicted of a felony?"
Director DuVernay used ample historical film footage, interviews, music and graphics to make her point. The film is especially strong in indicting the for-profit prison-industrial-complex. Perhaps one might argue that the political agenda was slightly skewed to make the Clinton administration seem more guilty than previous or subsequent ones of transgressing minority rights...perhaps a fair point; but considering the present day milieu that seemed a little over-the-top polemical. Nevertheless, this was a particularly well written and structured documentary. I come to film making from at editing perspective; and I would like to particularly commend the film's editor, Spencer Averick, for an amazing job. It's harder than it looks, folks, to string together 100 minutes of disparate material into a cogent, continuously reasonable tapestry.