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West Of Memphis

From the acclaimed director of "Deliver Us From Evil"

Documentary-maker Amy Berg doesn’t do flashy – nor does she intrude herself into her films. She relies on news footage, straight-to-camera interviews and the steady accumulation of testimony. But – as her debut, 2006’s Deliver Us From Evil about a paedophile Catholic priest, made clear – there’s no lack of passion behind her sober methodology. Her subject this time around is what became known as the case of the West Memphis Three, already the focus of HBO’s Paradise Lost trilogy. In May 1993, the bodies of three eight-year-old boys were found naked and hogtied in a ditch in West Memphis, Arkansas, covered with deep lacerations. Amid lurid allegations of a Satanic cult and on minimal evidence, three local youths were found guilty. One was sentenced to death, the two others to life imprisonment. It would take 18 years, and the unearthing of new evidence, before the West Memphis Three could finally walk free. And even then, thanks to a bizarre anomaly of American law, they were still officially guilty. Berg’s involvement came via producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, West Memphis Three supporters who enlisted Berg in 2008 when new DNA evidence in the case came to light. Though you’d think the Paradise Lost films would’ve covered every base, Berg’s enthralling treatment is anything but redundant. In the first half we see the dogged erosion of the skewed prosecution case. The second half homes in on a man the filmmakers suggest as the real killer, stepfather of one of the victims. There are clear parallels with Errol Morris’ groundbreaking The Thin Blue Line, which likewise targeted a miscarriage of justice and fingered the real culprit. Berg’s superbly detailed film is inspiring, debate-rousing stuff. Its passion, skill and the revelations on display will captivate you. – Philip Kemp, Total Film Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Amy Berg
Running Time: 
Screenplay by: 
Billy McMillin, Amy Berg

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