This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert was a member of a family of four elderly brothers, working as semi-literate farmers ... See full summary »
In the spring of 2002, filmmaker Joe Berlinger traveled to Vienna to witness the burial of the preserved brains of over 700 children killed at a Nazi "euthanasia" clinic. GRAY MATTER ... See full summary »
A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.
An alienated girl struggles to piece together the events of the previous night over 24 hours in NYC, only to be reminded that nothing is ever as it seems in a city where everyone is a self-made avatar, and violence looms like a halo.
Damien Wayne Echols,
In 1993, a horrific triple child murder was discovered in West Memphis, Arkansas, but the reaction to it precipitated a horror of its own. This film follows up on the story of the three boys, called the West Memphis Three, who were convicted for this crime with questionable evidence. For years, the boys' fate sparked a mass movement striving to prove their innocence while the state is equally determined to avoid admitting it could have been wrong. Through the swirl of new evidence and suspects, the Three tell their own tale about enduring this injustice against the opinions of the victim's families in a debate that eventually came to an inadequate resolution. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Todd and Dana Moore, the parents of 8 year-old victim Michael, wrote a letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences asking that the film be removed from consideration. In the letter they said that the film glorifies Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Director Joe Berlinger had in fact acknowledged during an interview with salon.com that he determined Echols was innocent after speaking with him for five minutes prior to the trial. Despite the Moore's request(or perhaps because of it) the film was nominated for Best Documentary, Features for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. It lost to Undefeated (2011). See more »
Damien Wayne Echols:
If I focused on the things I can't change, the things that have hurt me, what people have done to me, then they would have already broken me. They would have killed me inside and out. I can get up in the morning and I don't feel sorry for myself, I don't hate my life. You have a lot of people in here that all they can think about is what they don't have and how much they want out and how much they want something else. But for some reason, this situation has helped me to see more of what I do ...
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The (temporary) grand finale to one of the cases of the last few decades. Recapping the story about the West Memphis Three: Damien Wayne Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, a trio of outcast youth convicted for the murder of three school-kids in the woods near Memphis. Back in 1993 a wild witch (or more truthfully satanist) hunt was initiated, pinning the whole gruesome murders onto dark-clad heavy-rock listening youth with a individualist spirit. Echols was deemed the ring-leader, Baldwin was made guilty by association, while Misskelley was the victim of police coercion and forced testimony. Together all suspects were sentenced with Echols being gifted a death verdict.
Throughout the years "Paradise Lost" has served as a saving grace for the three young boys, most likely wrongly convicted of any crime - almost all family members of the victims agree to this point of view. Eleven years after the second part was filmed this could well be the last part in this conviction of a corrupt legal system, who sentenced kids to hefty punishments based on prejudice and hearsay. To the most part "Paradise Lost 3" serves well as a source of information regarding the whole sequence of events, strongly insinuating the innocence of the accused. Largely relying on traditional storytelling methods the documentary basically hits home its message, without really exerting too much emotional involvement - a stark contrast to the previous parts.
The weakest link here seems however the need to focus on answering the question: If the West Memphis Three were innocent, than who committed these heinous acts? Much to the detriment to the overall trilogy. Many years ago part 2 strongly implicated John Mark Byers, the father of one of the victims as the murderer, most likely wrongfully so based on flimsy evidence and misconceptions. Despite not learning from that failure in connect the dots, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" goes even further in its damnation of Terry Hobbs, stepfather of another boy, as the most likely suspect. Even though the evidence is purely circumstantial several of the people involved in the movie pinpoint the man as the perpetrator, dedicated a misguided prolonged segment to his person. Whether or not Hobbs is guilty remains a mystery best solved by forensic scientists and in court, not by documentary filmmakers, who have basically replicated the same sin committed by the courts, that sentenced the teenage threesome: implication based on prejudice and half-truths or unknowns. This runtime would have probably best serve to highlight how the freed men, after 18 years of incarceration, are now coping with integrating back into society - half a life wasted due to judicial incompetence. A definite red light in my book, hence a significantly lowered rating.
Nonetheless "Paradise Lost" serves it purpose as a key instrument of changing public perceptions on the death penalty and the frailties of police and justice systems, making a strong case for reasonable doubt in their objective functionality.
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