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Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 4,610 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 18 user | 29 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

A further followup of the case of the West Memphis Three and the decades long fight to exonerate them that finally gained traction with new DNA evidence.

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Title: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Gitchell ...
Himself - Former Chief Investigator, West Memphis Police (archive footage)
Todd Moore ...
Himself - Parent of Michael Moore (archive footage)
Dana Moore ...
Herself - Parent of Michael Moore (archive footage)
...
Herself - Mother of Stevie Branch (archive footage)
Terry Hobbs ...
Himself - Stepfather of Stevie Branch
Melissa Byers ...
Herself - Mother of Christopher Byers (archive footage)
John Mark Byers ...
Himself - Stepfather of Christopher Byers
...
Himself - Perpetrator (as Damien Echols)
...
Himself - Perpetrator
...
Himself - Perpetrator (as Jessie Misskelley Jr.)
John Philipsborn ...
Himself - Post-Conviction Attorney for Jason Baldwin
Don Horgan ...
Himself - Post-Conviction Attorney for Damien Echols
John N. Fogleman ...
Himself - Prosecuting Attorney (archive footage) (as John Fogleman)
Mike Allen ...
Himself - Detective, West Memphis Police (archive footage)
Domini Teer ...
Herself - Suspect's Girlfriend (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

13 October 2012 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Elveszett paradicsom 3: Purgatórium  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

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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User Reviews

 
West Memphis Freed
15 June 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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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