If you haven’t heard the story of the West Memphis three, you’ve been living in a hole since 1993.
The Devil’s Knot is based on the book of the same name by Mara Leveritt. It follows the facts of 8 year old Stevie Branch and two of his friends that disappear, later to be found murdered and three young men accused of the murders based on washy evidence and poor police work. It then chronicles the investigation, the families, and the trial.
I don’t know much about the actual case, I was not a lawyer working on the case, nor a law enforcement official investigating it. So there are no opinions on the case to follow from me. This is strictly a movie review.
Director Atom Egoyan does an exceptional job at telling the story. After all this is a story Hollywood couldn’t even make up. It’s a horrific situation on both the victim’s side and the accused side. To keep to the facts and not make it a personal rant about ones own “theories” in a film like this would be very hard to do, but Egoyan does it well.
Normally in movies like this the filmmakers will want you to forget about the victim’s about a third way through, so you can be more entertained. But Egoyan never let’s you forget about Stevie, using flashbacks and memories from his mother, his image never escapes you long, and therefore nails what the film is about. The three young boys that were murdered that day.
You may say this is a crime drama, but no, in fact, it’s one of the most horrifying films I have seen. Knowing that just a spit of this is true is heart-retching, to say the least.
The acting of the entire cast is superb, even Reese Witherspoon performance is spot on, and I’m not a Witherspoon fan at all. The story is well-balanced and keeps you wanting to be fed more facts, or the disproving of facts in most cases.
This is a great film. All the West Memphis Three theorist will bash it I’m sure, saying it’s biased or ill told from the facts, but as a movie as a whole, it’s a damn intriguing and entertaining flick.
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