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In a notorious case in Arkansas in 1993, a trio of teenagers who became known as the "West Memphis Three" were jailed for the murder of three eight-year-old boys. The teens were convicted on highly questionable evidence, amid claims of a witch hunt and a tabloid frenzy that hinted at satanic ritual, and director Atom Egoyan (
The Sweet Hereafter
) sets much of this dramatic retelling around the initial court case. However, the film runs the risk of fogging the truth by moulding the narrative into an exercise in emotional button-pushing. Although beautifully shot and with powerful performances from Colin Firth (as a private investigator) and Reese Witherspoon (as the mother of one of the murdered boys),
feels incomplete, the script ending long before the subsequent appeals and revelations that continued to grab headlines. Documentaries such as the
West of Memphis
have examined the events more fully, and with the attention to detail such a serious criminal injustice warrants.
Three teenagers are accused of murdering children as part of a Satanic ritual. A private investigator hired to assist the court case begins to suspect they are the victims of a witch hunt, while the mother of one of the dead boys is torn between her suspicions over the lack of evidence and her need for closure. Fact-based crime drama, starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.
Cast & Crew
Jessie Misskelley Jr
John Mark Byers
DVD and Blu-ray
13 Jun 2014
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