Director: Atom Egoyan
Year Released: 2013
Dramatized version of the infamous West Memphis Three tragedy centers around an investigator (Colin Firth) who is convinced the accused (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin) did not murder three little boys in Arkansas back in 1993; Reese Witherspoon is there as one of the grieving mothers. As time as shown, Echols et. al. are actually innocent, which makes identifying with the doubting Firth character more reasonable, but unlike the far superior, considerably more thorough Sinofsky/Berlinger documentaries on the subject, it misses a lot of details and particulars that make the case so remarkable, turning attention away from the three misfits (Echols, in particular, is an otherworldly bizarre figure) - and the troubling issue of police coercion and false confessions (not to mention the particulars of how the boys were murdered) - and, rather plainly, onto Firth and Witherspoon. As intense as Paradise Lost was, this feels too carefree in its presentation to make it the startling legal case it actually is - three boys were robbed of their lives, three more were imprisoned for a large part of their young adult lives and the actual murderer has yet to be apprehended.