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Based on the true story of the West Memphis Three where three young boys were savagely murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. Spurred on by the demand from a grieving town, the local police act quickly to bring three "devil-worshipping" teenagers to trial. With their lives hanging in the balance, investigator Ron Lax is trying to find the truth between the town's need for justice and the guilt of the accused. Written by
West Memphis, Arkansas is situated along the Mississippi River on some the flattest terrain in the nation. But the movie shows landscapes, especially along the creek where the bodies were found, that are far steeper and hillier than exists in or around West Memphis. See more »
The state is gonna kill three young men, and I can't stand by and watch that happen.
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Like most films of this kind, it is a film based on a true story which happened in Arkansas in 1993. I am English and until watching this film, I had never heard of this story. However, some, if not many, might regard this right up there for notoriety with crimes put to movies such as Ted Bundy and others in the pipeline such as Madeleine McCann and Amanda Knox-Meredith Kercher.
This was a complicated story-line to absorb without knowing the story first and I took the chance to research it a little afterwards. Certainly the film focuses a great deal on Colin Firth as Ron Lax and Reese Witherspoon as Pamela Hobbs in the leading roles but it shows little light (perhaps as in the Knox-Kercher case which is still fresh in our minds) that the Arkansas wanted 'closure' and quickly and they set out fabricating a case against the three guys which only serves to show the sheer ineptitude of American justice or of any civilised country for that matter.
No real acting is required by Colin Firth, he just plays the part while Reese Witherspoon does step up as the emotional Mum grieving her lost Son. The background to the parenting of the three lost boys is not explained in this film.
I find it incredible that the film did not throw more light on the apparent satanic cult which was prevalent in that area at that particular time and which, had that been investigated and questions asked of those who were involved, just as in the McCann case in Portugal from 2007, there is the possibility that the crimes committed could be solved in a professional manner rather than left for people to comment and judge by social media in the present climate following release of the new evidence and the ultimate release of the three convicts in 2011.
I cannot say I enjoyed this film. It is definitely not a film to enjoy but I wonder whether the film could have carried a more subtle focus for a more connecting audience. 20 years on, I sense the film was made for financial reasons but who are the beneficiaries?
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