Movie Review-West of Memphis


Coming to you August 6th

Review-The West Memphis 3 are 3 young men who in 1994 went to prison for a crime that they clearly did not commit. HBO jumped on the topic in the late 90’s with a documentary called Paradise Lost that chronicled this ordeal. Today is 2013, and we have had 4 documentaries about this topic and the funny thing is no matter what facts and new evidence has emerged it seems that this case will never be solved. What separates West of Memphis from the 3 Paradise Lost films beside Peter Jackson and Amy Berg being involved in the making is quite frankly this one is so personal and heartfelt. If you had to make a choice of the one that really chronicles the story the best I feel this is the one you should pick. Again, like the Paradise Lost films, I feel this film has so many unanswered questions that I wish would finally not only be addressed but put to rest. The crime they were committed of happened in a drainage ditch in the Robin Hood Hill neighborhood and happened late in the day around 5:30 to 6:30, there seems to be some debate about the time it could have happened. Because, of Damien Echols being not like the other kids in school he was linked to the crime with his two friends. It did not help matters when Jessie Misskelly was forced by cops to give them a story that would link the three boys to the crime. The film gives you footage you have seen before, but it also gives you testimonies, and stories you have yet to hear. You also get some candid interviews with Jackson, as well as Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins, witnesses who have called the WM3 hotline and told some stories that really need to be considered evidence to re-open the case and look into another suspect. This film also opens up to the possibility of Terry Hobbs, and when you hear some of the stories about him esp. from his junkie daughter who is telling a shrink that she does not know reality from dream of when she was younger like the last 10 years, some of these stories she and her family tell are going to really rip your heart out. There are also stories of people who professed the boys’ innocence since the start and they were silenced like Arkansas had an agenda, and knew they could not change their minds once this lie was brought to light. Think about the world today with the death of Treyvon Martin, makes you really think of how justice bends for the wrong people. This film makes you decide for yourself of who is truly who, and if you think justice was served. It also shows the stories of three kids who basically had to be men overnight and live their lives as caged animals because someone did not like the way they dressed or music they listened to. Of course, we all know that they are now free on a plea bargain deal that they had to admit they were guilty but since they could be innocent they are set free and that the ones who imprisoned them can wash their hands of any lawsuit. In a country where OJ Simpson takes off in a car chase with police and the world knows all the evidence pointed to him being guilty but yet he was free, and three kids who were the bottom of the barrel were innocent without a shadow of a doubt and were locked up for 18 years, makes you really think how blind our justice system has become. This documentary is a must watch and if you watched Paradise Lost and its sequels, you would love to include this one in your library.

10 out of 10