Thursday, January 2, 2014

West of Memphis

The history of the West Memphis Three case, beginning in 1993 with the brutal murders of three young Arkansan boys followed by the arrest, trial, wrongful conviction, and imprisonment of juveniles Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley until their deliverance some seventeen years later following a lengthy public amnesty campaign. Amy Berg's West of Memphis summarizes the infamous and highly publicized case nicely, and while her film adds a few interesting sidebars, it's probably not necessary to seek out by anyone who's seen Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's superior Paradise Lost films, which have the benefit of immediacy. Also, Berg's film forces you to suffer the admonishments of Peter Jackson (who produced the film), Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp and other pompous celebrities 
involved in the lobby to free the maligned trio.